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Historic, archived document 

Do not assume content reflects current 
scientific knowledge, policies, or practices. 

Senator J. S. Morrill. 

(Father of the Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges.) 

Hon. William H. Hatch. 

(Father of the Agricultural Experiment Stations. Died August 1, 1895.) 






l8 97 . 

[Public— No. S3.] 

AN ACT providing for the public printing and binding and distribution of public documents. 

Section 73, paragraph 2 : 

The Annual Report of the Secretary of Agriculture shall hereafter be submitted 
and printed in two parts, as fellows : Part one, which shall contain, purely busi- 
ness and executive matter which it is necessary for the Secretary to submit to the 
President and Congress; part two, which shall contain such reports from the 
different bureaus and divisions, and such papers prepared by their special agents, 
accompanied by suitable illustrations, as shall, in the opinion of the Secretary, be 
specially suited to interest and instruct the farmers of the country, and to include 
a general report of the operations of the Department for their information. There 
shall be printed of part one, one thousand copies for the Senate, two thousand 
copies for the House, and three thousand copies for the Department of Agriculture ; 
and of part two, one hundred and ten thousand copies for the use of the Senate, 
three hundred and sixty thousand copies for the use of the House of Representa- 
tives, and thirty thousand copies for the use of the Department of Agriculture, 
the illustrations for the same to be executed under the supervision of the Public 
Printer, in accordance with directions of the Joint Committee on Printing, said 
illustrations to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture ; and 
the title of each of the said parts shall be such as to show that such part is com- 
plete in itself. 



In presenting the Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture for 
1896 to farmers and others interested in the subject of agriculture, it 
is hoped that it may, in a measure at least, fulfill whatever expecta- 
tions have been aroused by the two preceding volumes. "When the 
Annual Report of the United States Department of Agriculture first 
appeared in this form, the hope was expressed that future numbers 
of the book would still more fully justify the new departure. It is 
therefore hoped that no backward step is evidenced in the present 
volume and that the work may indicate a steady growth toward the 
ideal which has been continually in mind, but which is as yet so far 
short of attainment. 

The Yearbook is in many respects unique. A bound volume of 
over six hundred pages, published annually in an edition of 500,000 
copies, and for free distribution, there is not another publication like 
it. Its small beginning and enormous growth make its history an 
interesting one. The Agricultural Report, of which the Yearbook is 
the successor, was first published in a separate volume as Part II 
of the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents. The volume 
in its original form was made up almost wholly of business reports 
for the use of Congress, but when it began to be distributed to an 
increasing extent among farmers it became the custom to introduce 
into it, for the benefit of its rural readers, popular papers on agricul- 
ture or discussions of the results of scientific investigations. In 1849 
the agricultural part of the report had assumed such proportions as 
to be issued in a separate volume. Of this report in 1851, 110,000 
copies were ordered, 100,000 of which were distributed by Congress. 
After the Bureau became one of the eight Executive Departments of 
the Government, in 1889, the editions of the report greatly increased 
with the growth of the population of the country and the development 
of its various agricultural interests, until now the Yearbook is pub- 
lished in annual editions of half a million copies. 

In its gradual development, and as the editions of the report in its 
old form grew still larger, the book was more and more regarded as a 
popular report, so that the business and executive matter was reduced 
to the smallest possible proportions. Finally, in 1895, Congress passed 
a law (an extract from which appears on the preceding page) requiring 
that future annual reports of the Department should be divided into 
two parts: (1) An executive and business report, containing "purely 
business and executive matter which it is necessary for the Secretary 
to submit to the President and Congress," and (2) a volume made up 
of papers " specially suited to interest and instruct the farmers of the 
country," and to include also "a general report of the operations 



of the Department for their information." The executive report is 
published separately in the series of Messages and Documents, and 
the second part is published as the Yearbook of the Department of 

Confining our attention now to the scope of this volume, it will be 
seen that the report of the Secretary of Agriculture to the President 
fulfills the requirement of the law for a general report on the opera- 
tions of the Department. The second portion of the volume is made 
up of a series of papers from the Department bureaus and divisions 
and from some of the experts of the agricultural experiment stations, 
discussing the results of their investigations in agricultural science 
or their trials in farm practice. With the object of making the book 
attractive' as well as instructive, these papers are illustrated as fully 
as possible, and are presented in the form of popular essays rather 
than as scientific reports expressed in technical language. While no 
attempt at systematic treatment of points in agricultural science has 
been made, it is intended that the farmer who receives this volume 
and preserves it carefully with the volumes which have preceded and 
will follow it, will in the course of a few years accumulate a fairly 
complete and useful library of agricultural science and practice. As 
a means of perpetuating in convenient form the agricultural statistics 
collected by the Department, an Appendix occupies the concluding 
portion of the book, in which these statistics are condensed, together 
with much valuable material, in the form of recipes and directions, 
with regard to horticultural practice. It has been the purpose thus to 
make the Appendix a vade mecum for the farmer, and the series of 
Yearbooks, which are thoroughly indexed for this purpose, a refer- 
ence library of increasing value to the agriculturist. 

The undersigned has been assisted in the selection and editing 
of papers by many officers of the Department, but he is especially 
indebted to Mr. John Hyde, statistical expert of the Department, for 
careful and skillful assistance in selecting and revising manuscripts 
and illustrations submitted for the book. , t . 

The experience gained in the preparation of this and the two pre- 
ceding volumes of the Yearbook leads to the suggestion here that a 
work of this scope, and published in such large editions, should have 
the attention of a board of editors with a corps of special writers. As 
a matter of fact, the material for this and the preceding books has 
been prepared by busy scientific workers in the intervals of other 
duties, and has received only such editorial revision as was possible 
for an executive officer and one assistant to give it. While the work 
still falls far short of the ideal set for it, it is hoped that it will be 
accepted by the farming public as the best that can be produced 
under present conditions, and the hope and belief are expressed that 
those who take up the work here laid down will be able to make it 
better with each succeeding number. 

Chakles W. Dabney, Jr., 

Assistant Secretary. 

Washington, D. C, February 1, 1897. 


-Report of the Secretary of Agriculture . 9 

Extermination of Noxious Animals by Bounties. By T. S. Palmer 55 

The Use of Steam Apparatus for Spraying. By L. O. Howard 69 

Influence of Environment in the Origination of Plant Varieties. By Her- 
bert J. Webber • 89 

Potash and its Function in Agriculture. By H. W. Wiley 107 

Some Common Poisonous Plants* By V. K. Ohesnut 137 

Timothy in the Prairie Region. By Thomas A. Williams . _ 147 

The Country Slaughterhouse as a Factor in the Spread of Disease. By Ch. 

Wardell Stiles. 155 

Irrigation on the Great Plains. By Frederick H. Newell 167 

The Blue Jay and its Food. ByF.E.L.Beal _ 197 

Seed Production and Seed Saving. By A. J. Pieters 207 

Insect Control in California. By C. L.Marlatt 217 

Diseases of Shade and Ornamental Trees. By B. T. Galloway and Albert F. 

Woods.. :■ 237 

Some Modern Disinfectants. By E. A. de Schweinitz . _ _ 255 

Migration of Weeds. By Lyster H.Dewey 263 

Cowpeas (Vigna catjang). By Jared G.Smith 287 

The Improvement of our Native Fruits. By L.H.Bailey 297 

The Superior Value of Large, Heavy Seed. By Gilbert H. Hicks and John 

C. Dabney _ 805 

Tree Planting in Waste Places on the Farm. By Charles A. Keffer 328 

TheAsparagus Beetles. By F.H.Chittenden.... •.. 341 

The Feeding Value of Corn Stover. By J. B. Lindsey 858 

Agricultural Education and Research in Belgium. By A. C. True. 361 

Olive Culture in the United States. By Newton B. Pierce _ 871 

The Uses of Wood. ByFilibert Roth, _ 891 

Ambrosia Beetles. By Henry G. Hubbard 421" 

Care of Dairy Utensils. By R. A. Pearson 481 

Some Standard Varieties of Chickens. By George E. Howard 445 

Methods of Propagating the Orange and other Citrus Fruits. By Herbert 

J.Webber.... ------ . 471 

Improvements in Wheat Culture. By Mark Alfred Carleton. 489 

Pruning and Training of Grapes. By E. G. Lodeman .-.. 499 

An Ideal Department of Agriculture and Industries. By E. Tisserand. 548 


Organization of the Department of Agriculture, December 31, 1896 555 

The public domain 558 

Statistics of the principal crops and farm animals 559 

Diagram 1.— Production and exports of corn, 1871 to 1896 (bushels) ... 560 

Diagram 2.— Production and exports of wheat, 1871 to 1896 (bushels) -. 562 

Diagram 3.— Production and exports of oats, 1871 to 1896 (bushels) 564 



Statistics of the principal crops and farm animals — Continued. Page. 
Diagram 4.— Production, exports, and imports of barley, 1871 to 1896 

(bushels) 566 

Diagram 5. — Cotton in the United States, production and exports, 1886 

to 1896 ._ 568 

Diagram 6. — Production, exports, and value of cotton, 1791 to 1896 570 

Diagram 7. — Production, exports, and imports of tobacco, 1871 to 1895 

(pounds) • _ _ _ 572 

Exports and imports of agricultural products 585 

Statistics of fruit and vegetable canning in the United States. 595 

Average price and consumption of sugar _ 595 

Tea, coffee, wines, etc 595 

Total values of exports of domestic merchandise for the years 1890 to 1896 . 596 

Exports of raw cotton from the United States for the years 1890 to 1896 596 

Production of certain fruits and nuts, mostly semitropic, in the United 
States in 1889, and the quantities and values imported from 1891 to 1896, 

inclusive 596 

Freight rates (Diagram 8) _. 597 

Value of farms and of mortgages on farms (Diagram 9) 599 

The Weather Bureau _ 600 

Texture of some typical soils - _ 602 

Educational institutions in the United States having courses in agriculture. 603 
Agricultural experiment stations in the United States, their location, direct- 
ors, and principal lines of work 604 

Feeding stuffs (for animals) 605 

Fertilizing constituents of feeding stuffs and farm products 611 

Fertilizing constituents contained in a crop of cotton yielding 100 pounds 

oi lint per acre 615 

Analyses of fertilizers , , 615 

Barnyard manure _ 616 

Methods of controlling injurious insects _ _ 617 

Preparation and use of insecticides 619 

A cheap orchard-spraying outfit 623 

Seed standards 623 

Treatment for fungous diseases of plants— formulas for fungicides 625 

Erroneous ideas concerning hawks and owls 628 

Timber— lumber— wood . ( 628 

' Distance table for tree planting 630 

Irrigation 630 

Number, weight, cost of grass seeds, and amount to sow per acre 632 

The metric system 634 

Notes regarding Department publications _ 636 

Publications issued July 1, 1895, to December 31, 1896 _ 637 

Appropriations for the U. S. Department of Agriculture for the fiscal years 

ending June 30, 1896 and 1897 658 




Senator J. S. Morrill and Hon. William H. Hatch Frontispiece 

Plate I. Fig. 1.— Steam spraying apparatus used by the department of public parks of 
New YorkCity. Fig. 2.— View (from oppositeside) of steam spraying apparatus 

used by the department of public parks of New York City, in operation 84 

II. Steam spraying apparatus used in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, N. Y _ 86 

III. Reservoir and windmill used in irrigation "'.'.'. 178 

IV. Fig. 1.— Method of applying water through furrows. Fig. 2.— Flooding a wheat 

field ___ 192 

V. Method of operating tents in the hydrocyanic acid gas treatment 328 

VI. Hillside olive culture near Naples, Italy 378 


Fig. Page. 

1. Hand apparatus used by J. W. 'Wolf- 

skill at Los Angeles, Cal 70 

2. Side view of steam apparatus con- 

structed by Stephen Hoyt's Sons, 
New Canaan, Conn _ 71 

3. Perspective view of steam apparatus 

constructed by Stephen Hoyt's 
Sons, New Canaan, Conn., in opera- 
tion - 72 

4. Eight-hand side of steam spraying 

machine constructed by W. B. Gun- 
nis, San Diego, Cal _ 73 

5. Left-hand side of steam spraying 

machine constructed by W. E. Gun- 
nis, SanD'ego, Cal _ 74 

6. Details of steam spraying machine 

constructed by Union Gas Engine 
Company, San Francisco, Cal., on 
the lines of the Gunnis machine 75 

7. Steam spraying machine used by T. 

B. Wilson, Hairs Corners, N Y 76 

8. Geared automatic sprayer used by 

J. S. Lupton, Winchester, Va 77 

9. Steam apparatus owned by theFarm- 

ington Forestry Club, Farmington. 
Conn _ 79 

10. Steam spraying apparatus construct- 

ed by the city authorities of New 
Haven, Conn _ 80 

11. Steam spraying machine constructed 

bv the city authorities of Soring- 
fleld, Mass _ _ 81 

12. Near view of couplings and details of 

steam spraying apparatus con- 
structed by the city authorities of 
New Haven, Conn . _ 82 

13. Near view of couplings and details of 

steam spraying apparatus used in 
Prospeet Park, Brooklyn, N. Y 83 

14. Steam spraying apparatus construct- 

ed by the Shade and Fruit Tree Pro- 
tective Association of New York..- 84 

15. Opposite side of steam spraying appa- 

ratus constructed by the Shade and 
Fruit Tree Protective Association, 
of Now York 85 

16. Juniper, or red cedar, pyramidal 

form (Potomac Valley, Washington. 
D.C.) 97 

17. Juniper, or red cedar, barren soil form 

(east Florida) _. 97 

18. Bald cypress, swamp form, with aerat- 

ing roots, or knees _ 98 

19. Bald cypress, pyramidal cultivated" 

form 98 

20. Aerating roots of swamp mangrove 

(Laguncularia racemosa) 98 

21. Common dandelion {Taraxacum offici- 

nale) 99 

Fig. Page. 

22. Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), mari- 

time sand-duno form (Palmbeach, 
Fla.) 100 

23. Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), culti- 

vated __ 100 

24. Poison ivy (Rhus radicans) 139 

25. Poison oak (Rhus diversiloba) 140 

26. Poison sumac (Rhus vernix) . 141 

27. American water hemlock (Cicuta 

■maculata) 143 

28. Death cup (Amanita phalloides) 144 

29. Timothy, showing the bulbous bases 

of the clustered stems in old plants 
grown in dry , hard soil 151 

30. A timothy meadew at haying time in 

the Gallatin Valley, Montana 154 

31. Diagram illustrating the relative lo- 

cation and extent of the Great Plains 168 

32. A homemade jumbo windmill 180 

33. Bucket pump operated by windmill. . 182 

34. Centrifugal pump operated by horse 

power 183 

35. Section of reservoir bank showing 

outlet 189 

36. Section of field and lateral ditch 190 

37. Section of raised ditch 190 

38. Sections and elevations of flumes 191 

39. Combined wood and iron flume 191 

40. The common blue jay 197 

41. Diagram showing the rolative 

amounts of vegetable and animal 
food eaten by the blue jay in each 
monthof the year _._ 199 

42. Diagram showing the relative 

amounts of grain and mast eaten by 
the blue jay in each month of the 
year 203 

43. Tomato flower (Lycopcrsicum csculen- 

tum) 209 

44. Tomato flower, longitudinal section., 209 

45. Section of a portion of the stigma of 

cucumber (Cucumis sativus), show- 
ing agarminating pollen grain 210 

46. Pod of the common bean (Phaseolus 

vulgaris) 210 

47. Seed of the bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). 

A dicotyledonous seed; one cotyle- 
don removed to show the plumule.. 210 

48. Bumblebee pollinating red clover 211 

49. Male flower of cucumber (Cucumis 

sativus). One petal cut away to 
show the stamens 211 

50. Female flower of cucumber (Cucumis 

sativus). One petal cut away to 
show the stigma 211 

51. Vedalia cardinalis (the imported lady- 

bird enemy of the white scale) 222 

52. Rhizobius ventral is (the imported lady- 

bird enemy of the black scale) 223 



Fig. Pago. 

53. Stag head soft maple 241 

54. Trunk of maple showing spread of 

fungous mycelium 248 

55. Root rot f\mgus{Poly}?oru$ versicolor) 251 

56. Fungus causing red rot of oak. 252 

57. Nectria cinnabarina - 253 

58. Wick for formaldehyde lamp 259 

59. Orange hawkweed - 263 

60. Couch grass, showing rootstocks 264 

61. Canada thistle 265 

62. Seed-throwing by plants. - 206 

03. Heeds carried Dy the wind 267 

64. Winged pigweed, a typical tumble- 

weed inform - 268 

65. Old witch grass 269 

66. Burs and seeds carried by animals. .. 272 

67. Boots and bulbs scattered by culti- 

vatingtools - 274 

68. Russian thistle: fruit and seed 276 

69. Wheat and its most common impuri- 

ties - 276 

70. The oat and some of its common im- 

purities 277 

71. Clover seed and some of its impuri- 

ties 278 

72. Map showing distribution of wild car- 

rot, prickly lettuce, and chondrilla. 280 

73. Map showing distribution of Canada 

thistle, Russian thistle, and nut 
grass - 281 

74. Development of soja bean from heavy 

and light seed 309 

75. Soja bean, 12071 (heavy compared 

with light seed) 310 

76. Seedlings from heavy and light seed- 311 

77. Development of Extra Early Alaska 

peas from heavy and light seed 313 

78. Peas, Extra Early Alaska, from 

heavy and light seed 316 

79. Beans, Extra Early Red Valentine, 

11469, large compared with small 

seed 317 

89. Root development of plants grown 

from heavy and light seed 318 

81. Early development of barley from 

heavy and light seed 319 

82. Early development of radish from 

heavy as compared with light seed- 320 

83. Early development of kafir corn from 

heavy and light seed 320 

84. Spray of asparagus, with common 

asparagus beetle in its different 
stages 341 

85. Crioceris asparagi: dark form and 

light form of beetle 342 

86. Crioceris asparagi ; beetle egg, newly 

hatched larva, full-grown larva, 
and pupa 345 

87. Megilla maculata 346 

88. Stiretrus anchorago 347 

89. Crioceris 12-punctata 351 

90. Rooting the Mission olive by the 

stool system 375 

91. Young Mission olive, showingmethod 

of pruning _ 381 

92. Olive branches in fruit, showing a 

self -sterile and a self -fertile variety 382 

93. Hydraulic olive press - - 384 

94. The four fundamental forms of re- 

sistance - 395 

05. Behavior of fibers in tension test 396 

96. Beginning of failure in compression. 396 
»7. Typical hard wood 397 

98. Typical conifer, drawn to same scalo 

as hard wood - 398 

99. Single cell test in bending 399 

100. Behavior of hard wood in bending — 400 

101. Ambrosia of Xyleborus celsus 422 

102. Ambrosia of Corthylus punctatissi- 

mus - 423 

103. Xyleborus celsus, female and male 426 

104. Xyleborus xylographus, female and 

male 427 

105. Gallery of Xyleborus pubescens in 

orange - 427 

106. Gallery of Xyleborus xylographus 428 

107. Galleryof Xyloterus returns in aspen. 429 

108. Pair of Barred Plymouth Rocks 449 

109. Silver-laced Wyandotte cockerel — 450 

110. Silver-laced Wyandotte pullet 451 

Fig. Page. 

111. Pair of Black Javas. 452 

112. Mottled Java hen 452 

113. Pair of Light Brahmas 453 

114. Pair of Buff Cochins 454 

115. Pair of Black Langshans 455 

116. Single-comb White Leghorn cock... 456 

117. Head of Single-comb Brown Leghorn 

hen 457 

118. Head of Single-comb Brown Leghorn 

cock 457 

119. Rose comb White Leghorn cockerel. 458 

120. Black Minorca cockerel 459 

121. Pair of White-faced Black Spanish.. 460 

122. Pair o£- Silver-spangled Hamburgs... 461 

123. Pair of Houdans 462 

124. Silver Gray Dorking cock 463 

125. Blue Andalusian hen 464 

126. Citrus nursery at Eustis, Fla., show- 

ing method of arranging and stak- 
ingthetrees 475 

127. Sweet orange twigs 478 

128. Method of removing wax from bud- 

ding cloth 479 

129. Shield, or eye. budding: method of 

cutting bud from round twig, bud 
cut ready to insert, and face of bud 
showingtho cut surface 480 

130. Shield, or eye, budding: incision on 

stock, incision with lower ends of 
bark raised for inserting the bud, 
bud partially ins erted, bud inserted 
ready to wrap, and bud wrapped 
with waxed cloth 481 

131. Shield budding with angular wood.. 482 

132. Treatment of buds 483 

133. Diagrams illustrating methods of 

lopping nursery trees 483 

134. Sprig budding 485 

135. Cleft grafting 485 

136. Tongue, or whip, grafting 486 

137. Crown grafting -487 

138. Inarching 488 

139. Healthy and shriveled grains of Jones 

Winter Fife wheat 498 

140. An Italian method of grape training. 600 
14L Ideal vine, showing different meth- 
ods of cane renewal 601 

142. Vine trained on the Brocton high re- 

newal system, ready for pruning. . 502 

143. An upright system of grape training 

■commonly seen in European vine- 
yards.. ... -. 507 

144. One-year-old rooted grape cutting.. 609 

145. Annually lengthening branch 512 

146. Pruned vine trained on high renewal 

system - 513 

147. The Chautauqua vine tie - 517 

148. The continuous arbor system, un.- 

Sruned vines - - 519 
e continuous arbor system, pruned 
vines 520 

150. Cross- wire system of grape training. 621 

151. Overhead Kniffin, or Caywood, sys- 

tem of grape training 522 

152. Unpruned vine trained on the over- 

head Kniffin, or Caywood, system. 523 

153. Pruned vine trained on the overhead 

Kniffin, or Caywood, system - 624 

154. Unpruned vine trained according to 

the Hudson horizontal system 525 

155. Pruned vine trained according to tha 

Hudson horizontal system - 526 

156. The Medoc espalier ,or low horizontal, 

system of Bordeaux, France 527 

157. Pruned vine trained on the Kniffin 

system - 629 

158. Grapery, with vines trained accord- 

ing, to the short spur system 534 

159. Grapery, with vines trained accord- 

ing to the double spur system 536 

160. Branch and cane of vine shown in 

fig.. 158..... 637 

161. Horizontal arm spur system, illus- 

trating the parts of a vine 540 

162. Unpruned vine trained according to 

the umbrella system, showing stem 
renewal 541 

163. Pruned vine trained according to the 

umbrella system 541 

164. Orchard-spraying apparatus 623 





Mr. President: 

The Secretary of Agriculture has the honor to submit his fourth 
annual report, covering the doings of the Department for the fiscal 
year ending June 30, 1896, together with some recommendations for 
the improvement of its work and the extension of its usefulness. 


From March 7, 1893, to October 1, 1896, the United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture disbursed seven million three hundred and five 
thousand six hundred and thirty-seven dollars and ninety cents 
($7,305,637.90). Of this sum, eight hundred and sixty thousand and 
nineteen dollars and ninety-eight cents ($860,019.98) were paid from 
the appropriations for the fiscal year which ended June 30, 1893, and 
which aggregated two million five hundred and forty thousand and 
sixty dollars and seventy-two cents ($2,540,060.72). 

From this last sum were saved and covered back into the Treasury 
one hundred and eighty-four thousand six hundred and thirty dollars 
and forty-seven cents ($184,630.47). 

Of the 1894 appropriation — for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1894 — 
which amounted to two million six hundred and three thousand five 
hundred dollars ($2,603,500), there were covered back into the Treas- 
ury six hundred and twenty-six thousand and thirty dollars and 
seventy- two cents ($626,030.72). 

From the money appropriated for the fiscal year 1895, amounting 
to two million four hundred and ninety-nine thousand and twenty- 
three dollars ($2,499,023), four hundred and eighty-six thousand dol- 
lars ($486,000 1 ) are unexpended. Thus, from the appropriations for 
three years there have been returned to the United States Treasury 
one million two hundred and ninety-six thousand six hundred and 
sixty-one dollars and nineteen cents ($1,296,661.19), and there will be 

'In round numbers; accounts not yet closed. 


a remainder of four hundred and ninety thousand dollars ($490,000*) 
from the appropriation of two million five hundred and eighty-three 
thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars ($2,583,750) for the fiscal 
year ending June 30, 1896. There will also be covered into the 
Treasury about two hundred and eighty thousand dollars (1280,000') 
from the appropriation for the current fiscal year 1897, amounting to 
two million four hundred and forty-eight thousand five hundred and 
thirty-two dollars ($2,448,532). Thus there will have been covered 
back into the Treasury since March 7, 1893, two million sixty-six 
thousand six hundred and sixty-one dollars and nineteen cents 
($2,066,661.19) out of a total amount of eleven million one hundred 
and seventy-nine thousand four hundred and fifty-five dollars and 
forty-five cents ($11,179,455.45) on hand and appropriated. 

That these great economies have been effected without in any way 
marring the efficiency of the Department work or unduly limiting its 
scope is due in a very large degree to the application of civil-service 
rules both in letter and spirit. The wide extension of the civil-serv- 
ice classification under the law has been proved by experience to be 
not only a great help but absolutely indispensable to the maintenance 
of an economical and efficient administration of the public service. 


Since March 7, 1893, the classified service has been extended until 
it includes every important permanent position in the United States 
Department of Agriculture. Reports from the chiefs of bureaus and 
divisions since this classification are unanimous in praising the 
enhanced value of the service rendered by their assistants and 
employees. In efficiency and economy the classification has very 
visibly improved the work. 

This Department has for its object the discovery, investigation, 
development, and utilization of the agricultural resources of the 
United States. Primarily it is a scientific or technical Department. 
Its most important agencies are its scientific bureaus, divisions, and 
surveys. There are two large bureaus and twenty-two divisions, 
offices, or surveys. Of these, seven are administrative, eight tech- 
nical, and seven are purely scientific. 

The Weather Bureau includes three business offices, six technical 
divisions, five scientific experts engaged in meteorological research, 
besides 154 observer stations and 52 signal stations along the coast 
and on the Great Lakes. 

The Bureau of Animal Industry includes two business offices, 152 
technical stations engaged in meat inspection and quarantine work, 
and three laboratories for investigating the diseases of animals and 
the causes thereof. 

1 In round numbers; accounts not yet closed. 


It is thus obvious that there are a great number of positions in the 
Department in which ordinary clerical persons can not be employed. 
There is hardly any work in the Department which can be efficiently 
carried on under the old spoils system of a quadrennial change in 
office. The functions of this Department have little or no relation to 
political policies or expedients. Its useful work should go ahead year 
after year systematically, and be modified only by the development of 
our agriculture and commerce. 

Holding these views, the Secretary has endeavored by every legiti- 
mate means to firmly establish the civil service of the Department 
upon a basis of solid usefulness. 


March 4, 1893, there were two thousand four hundred and ninety- 
seven (2,497) men and women upon the pay rolls of this Department. 
But on November 1, 1896, there were only two thousand two hundred 
and seventeen (2,217) on the rolls; that is — notwithstanding an in- 
creased amount of work — there had been a reduction in the force of 
two hundred and eighty (280). 

In the classified service March 4, 1893, there were 698. Of that 
number there were excepted from competitive examination 80, subject 
to noncompetitive examination 12, total 92; leaving subject to com- 
petitive examination 606. 

On November 1, 1896, there were in the classified service 1,658, 
excepted from competitive examination 1, leaving subject to competi- 
tive examination 1,657. Thus an increase of 1,051 persons subject to 
competitive examination has been made between March 4, 1893, and 
November 1, 1896. 

One of the first acts of the present Secretary made the position of 
appointment clerk of the Department subject to competitive examina- 
tion, bringing it within civil-service rules, and continued thereunder 
the present incumbent, who had been appointed by the last Adminis- 

Other places were brought in as rapidly as possible. Now the clas- 
sified service includes all officers, clerks, and employees of the Depart- 
ment, including the Chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry, chiefs 
of divisions, superintendents, chiefs of offices, State statistical agents, 
experts; all superintendents of quarantine stations, inspectors, assist- 
ant inspectors, veterinary inspectors, microscopists, assistant micros- 
copists, meat taggers, stock examiners, and live-stock agents in the 
Bureau of Animal Industry; all professors, forecast officials, local 
forecasters, observers, and all other officers and clerks in the Weather 
Bureau; all compositors, pressmen, folders, engineers, assistant 
engineers, firemen, messengers, assistant messengers, and watchmen; 
but no messenger, watchman, or other subordinate can be promoted 
to the grade of clerk except after passing an examination. 


The only persons not in the classified service in the Department of 
Agriculture are the Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and Chief of the 
Weather Bureau. Those officers are appointed by the President of 
the United States. The private secretary to the Secretary of Agricul- 
ture is the only person excepted from examination by the civil-service 
rules. The remaining 556 persons on the rolls of the Department 
November 1, 1896, were laborers, workmen, charwomen, and others 
in a subordinate grade. A great proportion of these 556 are rain- 
fall and river observers in the Weather Bureau, at salaries ranging 
from $3 to $25 per month, and their employment is intermittent. 
Every person ranking as a skilled laborer and skilled workman is 
now included in the classified service in this Department. 


There have been three scientific divisions established during the 
last four years. In that time seven vacancies have occurred by death 
and resignations among the chiefs of scientific divisions. How were 
these important positions filled ? Notwithstanding the fact that none 
of these positions was at that time included in the classified service, 
those in the new divisions were filled by the appointment of skilled 
scientists who had served the Department under previous administra- 
tions. Five other vacancies were filled by promoting men in the same 
divisions. Only two were appointed from the outside. 

The President of the United States has made two appointments in 
the Department of Agriculture since 1893. The first was that of 
Assistant Secretary. The gentleman chosen for that position, Dr. 
Charles W. Dabney, jr. , is a graduate in agricultural chemistry, and 
had been ten years director of agricultural experiment stations in this 
country and eight years president of the University of the State of 
Tennessee. He never sought the position. The position, however, 
sought him with great vigor, and at last he was persuaded to accept 
the same, and the manner in which he has efficiently discharged all 
the duties thereunto appertaining has given great satisfaction to the 

The present Chief of the Weather Bureau was appointed after an 
examination for promotion to a professorship in the Weather Bureau, 
and after that was called to his present position. He had served 
twenty years as a Weather Bureau observer, and was promoted to the 
professorship after a very severe competitive examination, followed 
by a practical test of skill in forecasting the weather, held under the 
supervision of a board made up of Professors Mendenhall and Har- 
rington, Maj. H. H. C. Dunwoody, of the United States Army, and 
the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. 

After a service of about eighteen months the improvement in the 
forecasts of the Weather Bureau as to accuracy and utility demon- 
strates that the present chief is a very useful and efficient officer. 


A thorough canvass of the Department shows that about 1,000 
persons out of the total of 2,217 employed are engaged upon purely 
technical or scientific work. An analysis of the last appropriation act 
shows that out of the $2,448,532 appropriated for the Department of 
Agriculture, over $1,700,000, or about 70 per cent, was appropriated 
for scientific or technical as distinguished from the administrative or 
general work. 


There is one more step to be taken to complete the already nearly 
perfect system of civil service in this Department. Every chief of a 
bureau or division, except the Chief of the Weather Bureau, is now in 
the classified service. The Secretary and Assistant Secretary are 
appointed by the President. They therefore change with every in- 
coming Administration. There is, consequently, every four years a 
period of time when the Department is left without a single adminis- 
trative officer to hold this vast and useful system together. But 
there should be such an officer. Therefore, in this connection atten- 
tion is called to the communication sent to the Senate and House 
Committees on Agriculture, dated February 15, 1896, in which it is 
urged upon the legislative branch of the Government as a simple 
business proposition, needing no argument to support it, that this 
vastly important and comprehensive work, promoting, as it does, the 
development of almost every resource of our land and every industry 
of our people, our production at home and our markets abroad, and 
concerning even the food and health of a large part of our population, 
for which $1,750,000 is annually expended, and in which nearly a 
thousand scientific and technical experts are engaged, should have 
a permanent, broadly educated, and experienced scientific superin- 

No permanent and adequate direction and supervision is provided 
in the present organization of the Department. It is not to be sap- 
posed that the Secretary of Agriculture, a member of the President's 
Cabinet, even if a farmer and an experienced executive, will necessarily 
be a technically trained scientific man. Even if he should be, he occu- 
pies the position only four years, and thus scarcely becomes familiar 
with the difficult and complex work of the Department before he leaves 
it. The Assistant Secretary of Agriculture is subject to the same con- 
ditions. Because he must represent the Secretary in the Administra- 
tion, he must go with the Administration. These conditions, which 
are necessary and inherent in our system of government, it is not 
proposed to change. A Secretary and Assistant Secretary are both 
needed. But another permanent officer is needed to direct the work 
of the various scientific bureaus of the Department, under the gen- 
eral authority of the Secretary, and to give permanence to the policy 
of the Department. 


In order to accomplish the best and most permanent results, this 
Department mnst have a settled policy with regard to all its scientific 
work. This Department has less relation to the general executive 
business of the Government, and less connection with what is usually 
called politics, than any other Department of the Government. In 
fact, the scientific work of the great bureaus, divisions, and surveys, 
above referred to, should be kept free from politics to be efficient and 
impartial to the interests of all. The numerous bureaus and divisions 
do not have under the present organization, in fact can not have, the 
attention and direction which the interests involved demand. After 
a change of Administration the Department is practically headless, 
and to a great extent helpless, until the new Secretaries have had 
time to master the details of the technical work. Such a director of 
scientific divisions is needed therefore, if for nothing else, to carry 
on the scientific work of the Department from one Administration to 
the next. Is it conceivable that any great manufacturing, railroad, 
or mining company, undertaking such difficult scientific work, and 
using so much money and so many men, would provide for it no perma- 
nent scientific direction or supervision whatever, and then change all 
the heads every four years, leaving the work practically at a standstill, 
or, which is worse, entirely without direction or supervision, for six 
months to a year? The change of Administration affects the work of 
this Department even more than it does that of others, because its 
work is less of a routine character, is more progressive, changes more 
frequently, and thus requires constant direction to keep it usefully 
going. The bureaus and divisions of this Department can not do prac- 
tically the same thing year after year, as they do in the great business 
Departments of the Government, but must, if they serve the people 
properly, do a new and different thing almost every month in the year. 
They therefore need constant assistance and supervision much more 
than do the divisions of other Departments. 


Aside from these special considerations with regard to the scientific 
work, the Department of Agriculture greatly needs another general 
executive officer. It has only two Secretaries authorized to take offi- 
cial action. There is no provision in the laws for any officer of the 
Department to act in case of the absence of the two Secretaries, as 
there is in some of the other Departments. Either the Secretary or 
the Assistant Secretary has to be present in the Department every 
day and every official hour during the year. 

The bureaus and divisions in Washington are, contrary to the pop- 
ular idea, much the smaller part of the Department of Agriculture. 
Outside of Washington there are 154 observing stations and 52 signal 
stations of the Weather Bureau. There are 152 meat-inspection 


stations in 40 different cities and towns in the country; 21 different 
quarantine stations for import cattle at points on the coast, the Cana- 
dian and Mexican boundary; 9 different stations for inspecting export 
stock, and 19 for inspecting stock for Texas fever, making a total of 
nearly 200 stations in the Bureau of Animal Industry, which should 
have inspection and supervision occasionally by the highest authority 
of the Department. The agricultural experiment stations, located in 
different States and Territories, and several experiment stations of 
the Department of Agriculture must be inspected by this Department. 
In addition to these, the Department has many other agencies for 
studying soils, foods, and food dietaries, testing timbers, and collect- 
ing material illustrating our natural resources, scattered all over the 
eountry. The Secretaries or Director should be in position to visit 
and examine the work of the various agencies for the purpose of in- 
forming themselves as to their uses and needs. In view of the great 
amount of business done, and of the large number of branches of the 
Department scattered all over the eountry, another executive officer 
is greatly needed in order to permit a better distribution of work and 
a more regular and thorough supervision of the outlying branches of 
the Department. The new officer here asked for should therefore 
be authorized to act, when called upon by the Secretary, as a Second 
Assistant Secretary. 

The salary attached to the position should be sufficient to secure the 
services of a broadly educated scientific man, who has had the nec- 
essary experience in the administration of affairs and the direction of 
scientific work, and should be equal to that paid for similar services 
in other branches of the Government. 

These considerations were duly presented to the Senate Committee 
on Agriculture and Forestry, and the subject was held under advise- 
ment some time, with the result that Senate bill 3131, providing for 
carrying the suggestions into practical effect, was introduced, but it 
was too late for consideration during the last session of Congress. 
The report of the Senate committee recommending the passage of 
the bill was accompanied by the testimony of several distinguished 
scientific gentlemen who had appeared before the committee. It 
was also advocated in a great number of letters and memorials from 
institutions of learning and scientific men throughout the country. 
In view of the evident unanimity of the scientific world in favor of 
the establishment of the office of "Director in Charge of Scientific 
Bureaus and Investigations" for the Department of Agriculture, 
the estimates for the next fiscal year contain a recommendation for 
an appropriation for the salary of $6,000 per annum, to be paid to 
whomever may be selected for this position. 


It is well to here reiterate the statement made in the report of the 
Secretary of Agriculture for 1895, that the salaries paid in this Depart- 
ment for ordinary clerical work are out of proportion to those paid 


scientific experts who render the highest typo of intellectual service. 
The chiefs of scientific bureaus and divisions and their skilled assist- 
ants do the actual thinking and reasoning for the development and 
elevation of agricultural science. These persons are not adequately 
compensated. Practical, scientific investigation of agricultural prob- 
lems is the primary function of this Department. The best ability 
and attainments can only be enlisted by the offer of sufficient salaries. 
And, in addition to compensation, laboratories, equipments, libraries, 
and clerical assistance must be generously furnished, in order to retain 
the highest character of skill and experience. 

The scientific organization of this Department has been formulated 
during the last six or eight years. The average age of chiefs of scien- 
tific bureaus and divisions is 42 years and 3 months. The youngest 
chief is 29 years and the oldest 51 years of age. Among these heads 
of scientific divisions and bureaus the longest term of service is 13£ 
years. The average age of assistant chiefs is 31 years and 4 months, 
the youngest being 28 and the oldest 35 years of age. The assistant 
chief longest in the service has been in the Department 5 years and 3 
months. The average duration of service of the assistants is only 2 
years and 4 months. 

The foregoing shows that the Department of Agriculture is very 
generally officered by young men. This is suggested, not as a disad- 
vantage at the present time, but because it is proved by the experi- 
ence of the past few years that these young gentlemen can not be 
retained by the Department at the present rate of compensation. 

The salary of a chief is now $2,500, and that of an assistant $1,800. 
These salaries are not adequate. It has therefore been recommended 
in the estimates for the next fiscal year that the salaries of chiefs of 
divisions be increased to $3,000, and those of assistant chiefs to $2,000. 
This recommendation is submitted in the interests of equity and in 
order to put chiefs of the Department upon an equality with scien- 
tific experts employed in other branches of the Government service. 
In the Coast Survey salaries of the principal scientific assistants 
range from $3,000 to $4,000. Geologists and chiefs of scientific 
divisions in the Geological Survey receive from $2,700 to $4,000. 
In this Department there is also precedent in the salaries paid 
professors of meteorology in the "Weather Bureau and in the compen- 
sation of Director of the Office of Experiment Stations, already 
fixed at $3,000 per annum. These salaries may be fairly compared 
with those paid scientific professors in the universities, colleges, and 
other institutions of learning in the United States. Inquiry shows 
that the salaries of heads of scientific departments in universities and 
colleges in the Eastern States range from $3,000 to $5,000, while in 
those institutions in the great populational centers, where the cost of 
living is enhanced, far larger sums are paid per annum. 

Salaries paid directors of experiment stations in the various States 


show that these officials are paid in the Eastern and Middle States an 
average salary of $2, 930. The same officers in the South Atlantic States 
average §2,800 per annum. In the Central Western States they are 
paid $2,550, and in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific States a little 
more than $3,100, and living expenses in all of the localities referred 
to are probably much lower than in Washington. 


On account of the low salaries paid for scientific and skilled services, 
the Department is constantly losing some of its ablest and best work- 
ers. The universities, colleges, and experiment stations, paying bet- 
ter salaries and offering equal opportunities for useful work and the 
acquirement of national reputation, are frequently taking the best 
men. Thirty-two leading scientific experts have left the Depart- 
ment during the last few years to take positions in other institutions, 
at a rate of remuneration averaging fully 50 per cent more than they 
received from the Government of the United States. Quite a number 
of scientists who received under the Government from $1,000 to $1,200 
per annum only have gone to the service of colleges, universities, 
and private institutions of learning and corporations at salaries rang- 
ing from $2,000 to $3,000 per annum, with possibilities of still greater 

It is evident from the foregoing that the Department can not retain 
its needed share of learned and experienced experts unless it pays 
salaries equal to those given for similar services in the educational 
and commercial corporations of the country. 


The Bureau of Animal Industry must continue to increase the 
number of its force in all of the great cattle and swine centers of 
the United States, if efficiency is attained and maintained. The 
ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of animals intended for 
food involves great labor and skill. The inspectors and assistant 
inspectors, Avhose duty it is to look after and report upon these 
cases, are in the classified civil service. No man can be examined 
by the United States Civil Service Commission for either inspector 
or assistant inspector who does not — as a condition precedent to such 
an examination — first exhibit his diploma from some reputable vet- 
erinary college. 

Of the fifty-one (51) in the performance of this particular character 
of inspection in the year 1895, fourteen (14) only had passed the 
examination, while of the seventy-seven (77) now employed, forty-six 
(46) have been taken from the eligible list of the Civil Service Com- 
mission. This shows the steady growth of a legitimate and purely 
nonpartisan service in this important Bureau. 
12 A 96 2 


Table showing total number of employees engaged in meat inspection only on the 
30th of June of each year and the number of these who were appointed upon 
certification by the Civil Service Commission. 

Inspectors and 
assistant in- 

Stock examiners 
and taggers. 



ant mi- 

































The effect of placing the force of the Bureau of Animal Industry 
within the classified service has been very marked in increasing its 
efficiency and improving its discipline. This is particularly apparent 
with the employees stationed at other cities than Washington. The 
decreased expense of the inspection work is largely due to this 
improvement in the force. Every person feels now that his standing, 
retention in the service, and chance of promotion depend upon the 
interest which he shows and the care and fidelity with which his 
duties are efficiently performed. 

On March 4, 1893, there were seven hundred and eighty-one (781) 
persons employed by this Bureau, but on November 1, 1896, there are 
only seven hundred and fifty-eight (758), notwithstanding the fact 
that the work has more than trebled. 

Since March 4, 1893, one hundred and fifty-eight (158) persons have 
been placed in this Bureau from the eligible lists of the United States 
Civil Service Commission. 

These facts demonstrate to the consumers of the meat products of 
the United States at home and abroad that there is a scientific and 
careful inspection made of all meats intended for interstate and for- 
eign commerce. The sanitary value of the system is beyond compu- 
tation. It protects health and life. Inspection will become so general 
and so perfect that not a single pound of unwholesome meat will find 
its way from the United States to foreign markets, nor will any be 
sold at home which does not carry certification of inspection. State 
and municipal authorities are becoming more alert in cooperating with 
the United States authorities in their attempt to prevent the sale in 
great cattle and swine slaughtering cities of the animals, carcasses, and 
meats which the inspectors of the Bureau of Animal Industry have 
rejected and thrown out of interstate and foreign trade. 





Following is a statement of the ante-mortem work at the abattoirs 
and stock yards. The figures in the first column approximate the 
actual number of animals inspected for abattoirs having Government 
inspection, and include those inspected in the yards for such local 
abattoirs and those inspected at the abattoirs in cities where there is 
no yard inspection. The second column gives the additional number 
of inspections in the yards on animals not purchased for the official 
abattoirs in those cities, and does not represent the actual number 
inspected, for the reason that as the inspection is made at the scales 
and the animals may change hands several times, being weighed on 
each occasion, the same animal may pass the inspector more than once. 
The number of animals rejected as unfit for food may be ascertained 
by adding the number condemned at the abattoirs, both ante-mortem 
and post-mortem, and the number condemned post-mortem in the 
stock-yards inspection. 

Ante-mortem inspection. 


Number of inspections. 

For official 
in cities 
where the 
was made. 

For abat- 
toirs in 
other cities 
and miscel- 


Animals condemned. 

At abat- 

In stock 






Total . 






















Last year the number of animals inspected for abattoirs having offi- 
cial inspection was 18,783,000, and the total number of ante-mortem 
inspections made was 23,885,721. There has been an increase in the 
past year, therefore, in the number of animals inspected for abattoirs 
where inspection was maintained of 4,492,739, or nearly 24 per cent, 
which is due principally to the extension of the inspection to sheep, 
which had not before been possible. The increase in the total number 
of inspections is 12,031,758, or over 50 per cent. 


Following is a table showing the number of animals inspected at 
time of slaughter and number of carcasses and parts condemned : 

Post-mortem inspection. 

Number of inspections. 

Carcasses condemned. 

Parts of 


At abat- 

On ani- 
mals con- 
in stock 


At abat- 




at abat- 


























6 796 













Last year the number of post-mortem inspections reported was 

There were 13,289,680 quarters and pieces of beef, 328,589 carcasses 
of hogs, 151,959 sacks of pork, 3,516,896 carcasses of sheep, and 
183,685 carcasses of calves tagged or otherwise marked as inspected 
meat. Of these there were exported 1,030,334 quarters and 16,818 
smaller pieces of beef (equivalent to nearly 260,000 cattle), 349 car- 
casses of sheep, and 3,281 carcasses of hogs. 

The meat-inspection stamp was affixed to 3,697,701 packages of beef 
and 6,034,165 packages of hog products j» 63,313 of the latter contained 
microscopically examined pork. There were issued 15,211 certificates 
of inspection for meat products, of which 3,481 were for microscop- 
ically examined pork. 

There were sealed 11,855 cars containing inspected meat in bulk for 
shipment to establishments having Government inspection and to 
other places. 


The cost of this work was $341,456.25, or 0.95 cent for each ante- 
mortem inspection, and covers the expense of all subsequent work of 
post-mortem inspection, tagging, stamping, and issuance of certificates 
of inspection. In 1895 it was 1.1 cents, in 1894 it was If cents, and in 
1893 it was 4f cents. 

Table shotting number of abattoirs and cities where inspection was maintained 
during the fiscal years given. 

Fiscal year. 

of cities. 




The following table shows the exports of microscopically inspected 
pork, 1892-1896: 

Fiscal year. 

To countries 

To countries 

not requiring 


















1896 •- 




The exports for 1895 were unusually heavy, but if we compare 1896 
with other years it will be seen that this year's shipments to coun- 
tries requiring the inspection were greater than in 1893 and 1894. 
The shipment of microscopically inspected pork to countries not 
requiring this inspection has been intentionally discouraged upon 
grounds of economy. 

There were 469,025 carcasses and 510,355 pieces examined, making 
a total of 979,380 specimens inspected by the microscopical force. 
Eleven thousand one hundred samples contained trichinae. 

The cost of this inspection was $60,485.93, an average cost per 
specimen of 6.18 cents. 

Last year the number of specimens examined was 1,910,415 (almost 
double the number this year), and consequently the average cost was 
less, being 4.9 cents; in 1894 it was 6$ cents, and in 1893 it was 8f 

The cost of the microscopical inspection per pound of inspected 
meat exported was 0.264 cent; in 1895 it was 0.2 cent, and in 1894 
0.248 cent. 

Note. — The cost per pound, as given above, was obtained, as heretofore, by 
dividing the cost of the -work during the year by the number of pounds exported. 
This method is objectionable, because the true average cost per pound can not 
be found by it, for the reason that the meat examined during one month may not be 
exported for several months. To illustrate this point: During the first six months 
thecostwas$19,848.92; pounds exported, 10,492,180; last six months, cost,$40,637.01| 
pounds exported, 12,408,700, making an average of 0.19 cent for the first period and 
0.33 cent for the last. From this it would seem that the meat examined during 
the latter part of the fiscal year was intended for shipment during the next year. 


There were during the year 819 clearances of vessels carrying cattle 
and sheep. All of these vessels were carefully inspected as to fittings, 
space, and other accommodations for live stock before a clearance 
would be authorized. The number of certificates of inspection of 
export animals issued was 1,393. 

Below is a statement showing the inspection of domestic cattle and 
sheep for export and the number exported for 1896 and previous 
years : 



Fiscal year. 
































During the year the number of Canadian cattle exported from 
American ports was 1,482; number of Canadian sheep, 10,512. Last 
year there were 1,834 cattle and 38,873 sheep from Canada. 

The percentage of loss in the shipments of cattle and sheep to Lon- 
don, Liverpool, and Glasgow, where inspectors of this Department are 
stationed, is about half that of last year. The number of cattle 
inspected after landing was 348,833; the number lost in transit was 
1,107, or 0.32 per cent, against 0.62 per cent last year and 0.37 per 
cent in 1894. The number of sheep inspected was 389,534, and 4,587 
were lost on the voyage, a percentage of 1.16, compared to 2.7 in 1895 
and 1.29 in 1894. 

The cost of the export inspection and the Texas-fever work, which 
includes the inspection of live stock imported from Mexico, was 
$107,273.07. Taking half of this sum as the amount chargeable 
against the inspection of animals for export, the cost of inspecting 
the 787,948 cattle and sheep exported would be $53,636.54, or 6.8 cents 
per head. Last year the average was 7.74 cents, and in 1894 it was 
10.75 cents per head. The number of individual inspections made 
on these animals was 1,549,539 in this country and 738,367 in Great 
Britain, a total of 2,287,906. This gives an average cost of 2.34 cents 
for each inspection, against 2.66 last year. 


During the quarantine season, from February 15 to December 1, 1895, 
47,082 cars, containing 1,224,715 cattle, from the infected district were 
received and inspected at the quarantine pens in the various stock 
yards, and 45,390 cars were cleaned and disinfected under supervision 
of the inspectors. 

Orders issued by the Secretary of Agriculture modifying the regu- 
lations governing the importation of live stock admitted cattle from 
Mexico, after inspection, for immediate slaughter or for grazing below 
the quarantine line, subject to the regulations applying to the native 
cattle of the infected district. Under these orders there were 219,814 
Mexican cattle imported and inspected during the year. 


The number of animals imported and quarantined during the year 
was as follows : 

St. Denis, Md 

Garfield, N.J 

Littleton, Mass 

Vanceboro, Me 

Newport, Vt 

Buffalo, N. Y 

Port Huron, Mich. 


Quarantine station. 












There were also at the Garfield station 12 camels, 1 goat, and 1 deer, 
making a total of 816 imported animals held in quarantine for the 
prescribed period. I 

The number of animals imported from Canada and inspected not 
subject to quarantine was 317,038 sheep, 216 swine, 151 cattle, and 2 
deer. There were also inspected 2,168 sheep, 42 hogs, and 3 goats 
imported from Mexico. 

For the purpose of comparison the following table is given: 

Table showing the number of animals inspected for abattoirs having inspection. 

Fiscal year. 



























In the interests of public health there should be Government inspec- 
tion of all animals intended for human food and of all meat products 
prepared for consumption in the United States and abroad. The pro- 
tection of the health of its citizens is an unquestioned function of 
Government. But when the assurance of such protection is given by 
a Government certificate to be placed upon the product of any slaugh- 
terhouse or butchering establishment, it enhances the value of that 
product by creating a demand for it which uninspected meat does not 
enjoy. Therefore the Government certificate of inspection declaring 
any meat or other food wholesome and edible enhances its value over 
that which is not certificated. For this enhancement, which the pro- 
ducer charges up to the consumer, the producer ought to pay. 

It is not the duty of the Government to maintain the Bureau of 
Animal Industry at great expense to all the people in a manner to 
give direct pecuniary benefits to only the few who produce and pre- 
pare meats for market. For this reason it is urged that the law rela- 
tive to meat inspection should be so amended as to have the work 
carried on carefully and efficiently by the agents of the Bureau of 
Animal Industry, and the cost of inspection assessed against all those 
whose meats and other animal products are inspected and stamped 
as wholesome. It is generally admitted that the market price of 
inspected meats runs from one-eighth of a cent to 1 cent per pound 
higher than that of meat of apparently the same quality which has 
not been inspected and certificated. This proves the value in public 
estimation of governmental supervision and inspection, and as the 
consumer gladly pays the enhanced price it is only fair that the pro- 
ducer should pay for the work which caused that price. The moment 


the Government demands pay for its services from those to whom 
they are rendered meat inspection will become universal at the great 
slaughtering centers of the United States. 

Many of the larger proprietors and packers have signified their 
willingness to have their animals, meats, and meat products rigidly 
inspected and passed upon by Government agents at their own 
expense. They wisely say: " The consumer will pay for it at last." 

From the foregoing it is reasonable to conclude that a properly 
drafted statute might make the Bureau of Animal Industry not only 
self-sustaining, but also a legitimate source of internal revenue, with- 
out doing injustice to either producers or consumers and without put- 
ting any appreciable burden upon either. 


The people of Great Britain consume annually about 109 pounds of 
meat for each person, and 75 per cent of that meat is produced in the 
United Kingdom. The remaining 25 per cent of the meat food of 
the United Kingdom is imported. During the fiscal year 1896, 120,000 
tons of live animals have been taken into the United Kingdom. In 
addition to that, there were imported 110,000 tons of fresh meat, either 
chilled or frozen. Besides the latter, 43,000 tons of salted meat were 
received by the English. During the same period of time the home 
product of meat was 827,000 tons. Thus the total consumption for 
the year in the United Kingdom was 1,100,000 tons. 

There is a constant increase of the live-stock trade with Great 
Britain. The English prefer the live animals rather than their car- 
casses. The reason for this is found in the freight charges. Ships 
which have been fitted up for cattle, swine, and other animals can 
return with merchandise of all sorts for freights; but the refrigerated 
ships — those which take chilled and frozen beef to Europe — are not 
adjustable for other freights on the return voyage and have therefore 
to come home in ballast. The consequence is that the advantage of 
a lesser freight for chilled and frozen meat than for live cattle is 
more than overcome by the fact that there is frequently no opportunity 
for paying return cargoes. 

In addition to that, there is an insurmountable prejudice on the part 
of the British consumer against carcasses slaughtered in other coun- 
tries and shipped to England as chilled or frozen meats. The English- 
man prefers to see the animal alive and to have it slaughtered in 

The United Kingdom imported during the last year 31,000 tons of 
live mutton. During the same period frozen or chilled sheep carcasses 
were taken amounting to 119,000 tons, salted mutton 24,000 tons, while 
there were produced 356,000 tons of mutton within the United King- 
dom, making a total production and consumption during the year in 
Great Britain of 530,000 tons. 


It will be observed that frozen-mutton shipments are far larger in 
proportion to the live-sheep shipments than the live-cattle are to the 
chilled-beef shipments. Nevertheless there is a distinct tendency 
toward increasing shipments of live sheep, notwithstanding the great 
distances of the chief centers of supply from the English market. 

The live meat arriving in the United Kingdom during the first six 
months of the year 1896 was supplied as follows : By the United States, 
75.10 per cent of the cattle and 45.26 per cent of the sheep; Canada, 
9.10 per cent of the cattle and 3.27 per cent of the sheep; Argentina, 
15.50 per cent of the cattle and 50.60 per cent of the sheep; while all 
other countries furnished 0.30 per cent of the cattle and 0.87 per 
cent of the sheep. 

During the same period of time, ending June 30, 1896, dead meat 
was supplied to the United Kingdom in the following proportions: 
The United States supplied 81.30 per cent of the beef and other coun- 
tries 18.70 per cent. Germany supplied 0.22 per cent of the mutton; 
Holland, 4.20 per cent; Argentina, 26.53 per cent; Australasia, 69 per 
cent, and other countries, 0.05 per cent. 


Argentina, it will be noticed by the table of live animals, shipped a 
larger proportion of sheep than the United States, and at the same 
time the Argentine shipment of cattle exceeds that of Canada. It is a 
thirty days' voyage from Argentina to British ports. There is, there- 
fore, a considerable waste in weight, much loss of animals by death, 
and enhanced freight charges, but the British public demands live 
animals, and this demand overcomes the increased cost of freight and 
the consequent enhanced price to the consumer, which is willingly 
paid. A mutton carcass killed in England brings about $4 more than 
the same quality of mutton which has been killed abroad and is 
taken into that market frozen. Shipments of live sheep from Argen- 
tina have been very satisfactory to English consumers. 

Cattle from Argentina are inferior to those from the United States. 
They are not as large, well graded, or as well fattened. There is, how- 
ever, a constant improvement in Argentinian herds, because they 
are steadily introducing the best thoroughbred bulls from England, 
France, and the United States. The breeds most sought for by 
Argentinian cattlemen are the French Durhams, English Shorthorns, 
the Hereford, and Scotch Aberdeen Angus. And while the stock 
growers of Argentina are thus improving their cattle they are not 
unmindful of their sheep flocks, but are constantly introducing 
among them Romney Marsh, Leicester, Oxford Downs, Shropshire, 
and Lincoln rams. 


The following table (p. 26) shows the average wholesale prices of 
dressed meats at the London Central Meat Market during the years 
1895 and 1896, per 100 pounds. 


Average wholesale prices of dressed meats at the London Central Meat Ifarlcet, 


[Per 100 pounds.] 


First quarter, 

Second quarter, 

Third quarter, 

Year 1895. 






Scotch short sides 


to 12. 37* 


to 13. 13 


to 13. 50 

12. 87* to 13. 62* 

Scotch long sides 


to 11. 25 


to 11.25 

11. 37* to 12. 25 

11.50 to 12. 13* 

English prime 


to 11. 25 


to 11. 00 


to 11. 25 

11.25 to 12. 12* 

Cows and bulls 


to 8.00 


to 8.00 


to 7.50 

6.75 to 9.36 

American — 

Birkenhead killed 


to 9.25 


to 9.25 


to 10. 25 

10.00 to 10. 75 

Deptford killed 


to 9.50 


to 9.50 


to 9.50 

10.00 to 11. 00 

Refrigerated hind 



to 10. 00 


to 10.50 


to 11.00 

10.75 to 12. 13* 

Kefrigerated fore 

quarters . 


to 6.25 

to 8.25 


to 6.00 
to 8.00 


to 5.50 

to 7.00 

6.50 to 7.50 


8.75 to 10. 25 

Australian — 

Frozen hind quarters- 


to 5.25 


to 5.75 


to 6.60 

6.50 to 7.00 

Frozen fore quarters. 


to 4.25 


to 4.00 


to 3.25 

4.75 to 5.00 

Mutton : 

Scotch prime 

12. 12* to 12.371 

12. 37* to 14. HO 

13. 13* to 14.621 

14. 37* to 15. 37* 
13. 37* to 14. 62 

English prime 


to 13. 12* 
to 10. 00 


to 13. 37* 

11. 00 

to 13.37* 




to 10. 25 


to 10. 25 

10.25 to 11. 50 



to 11. 25 


to 13. 60 

12. 13* to 13. 12* 
7.90 to 7.75 

New Zealand frozen 


to 7.75 


to 6.75 


to 7.25 

Australian frozen 


to 6.00 


to 4.50 


to 6.76 

5.50 to 6.00 

River Plate frozen 


to 5.00 


to 5.00 


to 6.76 

5.50 to 6.0S 

Lamb : 



to 22. 00 


to 19. 60 


to 16. 50 

16. 62* to 19. 25 

New Zealand frozen 


to 13.37* 


to 1ft 00 


to 9.60 

8.50 to 10. 00 



to 16. 00 


to 13. 76 


to 13. 35 

12.37* to 14.25 


English small 


to 10. 00 


to 10. 76 


to 9.26 

10.00 to 11. 00 

English medium, large. 

and foreign . .. 


to 8.75 


to 8.50 


to 7.75 

8.00 to 9.50 


Each year there is visible improvement in the methods of defrost- 
ing meats in European markets. Frozen mutton from the antipodes 
and from Argentina reaches the retail butcher shop in better form and 
appearance than formerly. This great industry has been developed 
under adverse conditions to shippers, because of their inability to 
obtain fairly remunerative prices. First-class English butchers will 
not handle frozen meat at all in some of the larger cities. It is, there- 
fore, relegated to small shops in cheap neighborhoods where low prices 
obtain. All efforts upon the part of shippers and sellers have failed 
to break down English prejudice against such meats. They do not, 
therefore, in the form of frozen mutton or frozen beef seriously com- 
pete with the live shipments of cattle from the United States. But 
they do really compete with cheese, bacon, and pork. 



The growth of the live-sheep shipments is interesting. The United 
Kingdom took during the year 1893, 62,682; in 1894, 484,597; in 1895, 
1,065,470, and during the first nine months of the year 1896, 614,855 
head. This slight falling off for the present year is owing to the com- 
pulsory slaughtering on landing and consequent impossibility of fat- 
tening the sheep on English pastures. In previous years foreign sheep 
were pastured in Great Britain, and, after being fitted for market, 
sold at top prices as English. 

The enormous imports of beef and mutton to the United Kingdom 
are an absolute necessity. Domestic production lacks that much of 
supplying the demand. The utmost capability of meat production 
has probably been reached in the United Kingdom, but the popula- 
tion continues to augment and the per capita consumption of meat 
increases with each year. Nevertheless, the imported animals and 
meats are looked upon with suspicion by the Government, with jeal- 
ousy by the farmers, and with mistrust by some of the consumers. 

From January 1 to September 30, 1896, Great Britain received a 
greater number of cattle than ever before taken in during a period of 
nine months. It even exceeded the number taken in during the same 
period of the year 1894. 

The business of supplying the English market with meats is full of 
risks and vicissitudes, and therefore requires large capital. This 
whole trade is concentrated at present in a very few hands. The 
number of shippers from the United States may be counted upon 
one's fingers. During the first eight months of the year 18tN> the 
business has been unsatisfactory and only barely remunerative. 
Prices have advanced considerably with the progress of the year, 
especially for top cattle of prime quality. 

Cattle were sent from the United States to Liverpool during the 
early autumn at $6.08 a head freight. Charges from the River Plate 
were $25.55 a head in the early part of the present year, but were 
reduced to $15.81, and even to as low a figure as $14.60, during the 
preseut autumn. Lowering rates stimulated shipments. Great Brit- 
ain furnishes, as a rule, between the months of May and September 
enough native stock to lower prices of American and other imported 

Among the parliamentary enactments of 1896 was a biH for com- 
pelling the slaughter of all animals at the point of debarkation. This 
act, however, made no change in practice, as, under departmental 
orders, such slaughtering had been carried on for some years. 


Cattle from the United States have for a long time been arriving at 
English ports in such perfect condition that there is neither need nor 
desire to further fatten them before killing. It is not the same with 


Canadian cattle. Evidence from agents of the United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture from Birkenhead, from Glasgow, and from Bris- 
tol is concurrent to the effect that the quality of animals from the 
United States is far superior to that of those received from Canada. 
At all the points named Canadian cattle have been found short in 
weight and poor in quality. The same fault is found with animals 
from South America. Corn-fed animals from the United States have, 
however, proved very superior and achieved some notable triumphs 
during the year. About one-third of the South American cattle 
shipped to London and Liverpool in 1896 from the River Plate were 
sold at from 5 cents to 6 cents per pound. 

These were mostly wild pampas cattle, which suffer very much on 
the voyage over the ocean, and do not begin to feed until half the dis- 
tance to Liverpool is covered. Nevertheless there are quite a number 
of River Plate cattle bred specially for British markets, and pastured 
and afterwards stall fed after the American method, and these are 
said to compare favorably with the cattle from the United States as 
to weight and quality. South America has shipped animals of such 
inferior quality at times as to have made great loss, and it is clearly 
proven that it pays to ship only the very best grades and quality of 
beef cattle to the United Kingdom. 

The present prospect for good prices for American beef in the 
English market is not encouraging. Supplies are abundant and low 
freights prevalent. Under these circumstances only moderate profits 
may be hoped for in the future, even if the English market retains 
a healthy tone and steady demand. 

The exclusion of United States and all other foreign cattle from 
the Continent forces practically all of the surplus of the United States 
into Great Britain and tends to keep prices down for the English 

During the last twelve months American cattle have uniformly 
arrived on the other side in good health and condition. Only forty 
or fifty head were condemned at Glasgow as suffering from Texas fever. 
It would perhaps be of advantage to American shippers to especially 
study the Glasgow market. In that city cattle from the United States 
compete with the very highest quality of British animals. During the 
year 1896 it has been admitted that American cattle have been the best 
of all those landed at that port. They arrived in good condition in 
winter as well as in summer, and their quality is admittedly very supe- 
rior. The Glasgow people seemtohaveapreferenceforanimalsshipped 
from Baltimore, which are mostly Shorthorn crosses, though in the 
autumn quite a large number of Polled Angus cattle arrive there. 
Light-weight, smooth-finished steers during the warm months of sum- 
mer will pay the shipper the best profits in the Glasgow market. It 
has been shown to the Department that the highest prices and the 
highest praises have been bestowed upon beef from the United States 



in the Glasgow markets during the year 1896, but it must be admitted 
that those meats were sold as "prime Scotch" or " English" joints. 

Prices of many American cattle are lowered because of the deep 
branding on their hides. It has been estimated that 10 per cent has 
been deducted from the value of some animals because of the brand- 
ing upon them. 


The meat producers and packers of the United States can learn 
from the following tables the quantity of meat taken into the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain, and also the sum total of the aggregate 
which has gone from this country during the last four years and the 
three first quarters of the year 1896 : 

Quantity of meat imported into the United Kingdom during the four years 
1892-1895, and nine months of 1896. 

[Figures given are for thousands, three ciphers (000) being omitted.] 

Meat product. 














Total ; 



































PftT^fa : 













Meat, unenumerated : 
Salted or fresh- 













Preserved otherwise than fcy salting- 












Total - 






Mutton, fresh : 



















Total - 






Quantity of meat imported into the United Kingdom, etc. — Continued. 

Meat product. 





1896 (9 

Pork : 

Salted (not hams)— 



























Rabbits : 

















Note. — Cwt. =112 pounds. 


In connection with the foregoing, the appended table shows how 
many oxen, hulls, cows, and calves have been landed in Great Britain 
from foreign ports during the same period of time : 

Number of live animals (for food) imported into the United Kingdom in the years 
1893, 1894, 1895, and the first nine months of 1896. 





Oxen and bulls : 

Prom Canada 

From United States .. 
From other countries. 



From Canada -.. 

From United States . . 
From other countries 


Calves : 

From Canada 

From other countries 


Oxen and hulls 



Total cattle 

Sheep and lambs 















in, 791 
















































American sheep during the year 1896 have been landed in Liver- 
pool in greater numbers than during any preceding year. They have 
consisted largely of corn-fattened muttons, and nine-tenths have been 
of superior quality. 

The profitable market for mutton in England appears to have 
encouraged sheep growing and fattening in many of the Western 
States. Although prices fluctuate considerably, being regulated by 
the supply and prices of native English mutton, there is, as a rule, 
only a difference of about 3 cents per pound between the best English 
and the best United States mutton. This is not because of Eng- 
lish prejudice against the American article, but because many of the 
sheep from the United States, having been rapidly fattened on eom 
prior to shipment, show sometimes 80 per cent of their added weight 
to be tallow, while the flesh (Englishmen declare) is flavored by the 
corn feed. 

American yearlings and 2-year-olds eommand praetieally the same 
price as English sheep of the same age and quality, and have sold 
during the present year at from 14 to 16 cents per pound. 

It was, however, the misfortune of American shippers, notwith- 
standing the increased vigilance and rigor of the inspection of animals 
for export, to have landed during the year 1895-96 a few lots of sheep 
in Liverpool and London affected with the scab. It is quite possible 
that this disease was generated by infected ships upon whieh diseased 
sheep had been sent from Argentina and other countries, and then, 
without proper disinfection, had been put into the carrying trade 
between the United States and Europe. It is, however, believed that 
if sheep are wet and crowded during a voyage, scab may be generated 
by those conditions. 

The Glasgow market finds fault with American sheep, and also with 
Canadian, by declaring them too big and too fat. The Scotch want 
medium weights, and for them will pay high prices. Foreign markets 
demand some other breed of sheep for mutton than the Merino and its 
crosses, and those looking to profitable ventures in this line should 
secure the best mutton breeds of sheep, which, when they are landed in 
as good condition as American cattle, will soon have as high a repu- 
tation and bring as remunerative figures. 


Great Britain continues the largest purchaser and importer of swine 
flesh and hog products in the world. 

In 1893 British consumers took from foreign countries 3,000,000 
hundredweight, over 3,500,000 hundredweight in 1894, more than 
4,000,000 hundredweight in 1895, and nearly 3,500,000 hundred- 
weight during the first nine months of 1896. This year will, there- 
fore, show a large increase in consumption. It is noticeable that 


while there was an increase of 800,000 hundredweight in 1895 over 
1893 the value fell from $41,250,000 to $38,500,000. 

Shipments from the United States of these products are pretty 
steady and average 2,500,000 hundredweight a year. American pack- 
ers are not participating in the profits of the growth in consumption 
of swine flesh and hog products in Great Britain as much as they 
ought to, because they do not cure meats especially suited to the 
English demand. But their Danish and Canadian competitors are 
increasing their shipments into the United Kingdom every year. 
This is because the packers of Denmark and Canada are carefully 
catering to the taste of the English consumer. Eighty per cent of the 
entire Danish product finds market in England. The cost of swine 
at the packing houses in Denmark is given at 6 cents a pound live 
weight, with a dockage of 20 per cent on refuse, together with 28 
pounds of bone. The freight on the product to London is only $7. 30 
per ton, and the price realized is about $11 per 100 pounds. 

Irish packers are more damaged by Danish competition than are 
those of the United States, and the great abattoirs of Ireland are 
advocating improvement in breed of swine for that country, and also 
in the methods of curing the meat for market. 


An indication of the growth of the Danish packing business and its 
possible effect upon competitors in the English market is submitted 
from the Ulster Curers' Association, and reads as follows : 

Prior to 1886 the bacon-curing industry was practically unknown in Denmark. 
Since that time the Danes have not only learned the business of curing so as to 
please the most fastidious English markets, but have introduced from England 
and established a breed of pigs exactly suited to the wants of the curer in point of 
leanness, with the result that the feeder gets the utmost price possible from the 
curer, and his loss through raising overfat, unsuitable meat is reduced to an 
absolute minimum. In other words, rearing and feeding of pigs are conducted 
on scientific principles. Success has been achieved through the dissemination 
through the agricultural districts of Denmark of the knowledge of trained experts 
acting with State aid and under State supervision. 

Grants have been made by the Danish Government, through the Royal Danish 
Agricultural Society, for the purchase in England of swine of the best breeds 
and most suitable for crossing with the native stock for the production of pigs for 
curing purposes. The disbursement of the money granted has been in the hands 
of experts, who made frequent visits to England, purchasing stock from the best- 
known pedigree herds of the country. In addition to the money thus expended, 
the .Danish Government adds subventions to railway and steamship companies, 
and supports experts qualified to instruct the bacon factors in the better prepara- 
tion of their product for the English market. 


Our bacon sells for less money in the English market than that of 
any other country. The reason for this is found in its overfatness 
and saltness. When bacon prices are depressed, the lower grades are 


proportionately more depressed than the higher. Therefore American 
bacon ranges from about 2 cents per pound wholesale below Con- 
tinental and Irish bacon and about 3 cents below English bacon. 
American bacon in the English market will bring a better price when 
it is prepared with a view of meeting the tastes and demands of Eng- 
lish people. But to-day American packers merely dump their over- 
flow product upon the English market for what it will bring, and 
leave the higher prices to English, Canadian, and Danish packers. 

American hams are held in higher estimation than bacon and hold 
their own in competition with all other countries, so that in quanti- 
ties shipped and in prices hams and pickled pork from the United 
States are equal to the same products from other countries. 


In the year 1893 Great Britain took 13, 707 American horses. In 1894 
the same purchaser received from the United States 22,866 horses, 
and in 1895, 34,092. But during the first nine months of the year 
1896 there had been shipped from the United States to England 34,642 
head of horses. Shipments by Canada have in creased during the same 
period of time in about the same proportion, while shipments from the 
Continent of Europe have fallen off materially; so that it may now 
safely be claimed that the United Kingdom looks to America for all 
the horse supply which she once purchased principally from Germany. 

American horses are now in steady demand for omnibus, street-rail- 
road, and cab services, and for the use of traders who keep drays, vans, 
and carts for the collection and delivery of goods. English breeders 
are turning their attention chiefly to hacks, hunters, and heavy draft 
horses. Large, compactly built, healthy draft horses are high in 
price, with a constant market. The demand for these" animals is on 
account of the omnibuses, cabs, and trucks, and those from the United 
States are growing in favor. The strongest recommendation for 
American horses is their staying qualities — their powers of endurance. 
Horses suited to cab work bring from $55 to $100. A better class of 
animals commands readily from $125 to $150, and the average price is 
not below or above those figures. 

Draft horses from the United States are in great demand and the 
trade in this style of animals may greatly develop, as the American 
draft horse is regarded as of better action and life than most of the 
native breeds. During the summer of 1896, in English markets, these 
animals have sold at $250 to $280 a head, but they were of first-class 
quality. The veterinary superintendent of the city of London com- 
mends the American stock of horses in that market very highly. All 
horses from the United States and Canada are inspected under the 
direction of the British Board of Agriculture upon their debarkation 
at any English port, and thus far during the year 1896 the sanitary 
condition of animals landed has been reported very good. 
12 A 96 3 


The season begins in England for apples in August, when the 
domestic crops come into the market. At this time the stores are full 
of other fruits, and apples are comparatively neglected and bring low 
prices. It sometimes happens that a very large crop in Spain and 
Portugal will result in limited shipments to England during August 
and September, but with this occasional exception the supplies are 
confined to the home product. The Spanish and Portuguese apples 
are of inferior quality, and bring only the moderate price of from $1 
to $1.75 per hundredweight of 112 pounds. The bulk of the English 
apples in average years would sell at about the same rate, superior 
kinds bringing much higher prices. In ordinary seasons English 
apples are to be seen in the English markets up to the end of January. 
In 1896, however, the crop was deficient both in quantity and quality, 
and was practically used up by the beginning of October. The mar- 
ket was thus left clear for United States and Canadian fruit, which 
is the chief, indeed practically the only, source of supply during the 
winter. As usually happens, our earlier shipments were not repre- 
sentative in quality, and brought low prices. 

Our packers send their fruit forward in barrels which net as a 
rule not quite 100 pounds. Our European agent has heard complaints 
that there is a tendency toward a decrease in the size of the barrels, 
and this is a mistake from a business point of view. The Canadian 
barrels weigh gross about 1£ hundredweight (say 168 pounds) and 
net 130 to 140 pounds. "When people see Canadian Baldwins quoted 
at $2.50 to $3.25 per barrel and United States Baldwins quoted at $2 to 
$3, they are apt to consider this evidence of superior quality and higher 
price for the Canadians. It is, however, merely the difference in the 
weight of the barrel. 


The big bulk of the shipments consists of the Baldwins, Northern 
Spys, and Greenings. Our Baldwins are finer and larger than the 
Canadians, but they are not so hard and not such "good keepers." 
They range as a rule from $2.50 to $3.50 for Canadian barrels, and $2 
to $2.75 for American. It is not believed in England that these prices 
will be quite established during the winter of 1896-97 on account of 
the immense crop reported to have been gathered in the United States 
and Canada. 

The Greenings are not so attractive in appearance, but they have a 
firm hold on the English market for cooking purposes, more especially 
in the north. Good, clear, unspotted Greenings bring in the ordinary 
season from $2.50 to $3.50 per Canadian barrel, an extra price being 
paid for large apples. Special importance is attached to size in the 
case of Greenings; buyers willingly pay enhanced prices for large 
specimens, as a rule cooking them in the form of dumplings. Small 


Greenings would easily fall off a dollar a barrel in price, and thus 
render the shipment unremunerative. 

Northern Spys usually bring about the same prices as the Baldwins. 

Freights to London, Liverpool, Glasgow, or Bristol are approxi- 
mately $1 per barrel, and all charges, including auctioneer's commis- 
sion, would be covered by 25 cents. All apples are sent on consign- 
ment to brokers who effect sales by auction. The business is cash 
on delivery, and if the auctioneer gives credit it is at his risk, and not 
at that of the seller. The Department representative in England is 
prepared to give inquirers the addresses of respectable consignees in 
the principal seaports of Great Britain. 

The Spitzenberg is a good, reliable apple, appreciated in the English 
market, and it brings about the same price as the Baldwin. Indeed, 
nearly all red-colored apples bring about the same prices. 

Russets are liked and sell at about the price of the Baldwin. Golden 
Russets, if carefully selected, would bring from 50 to 75 cents over the 
average. The tendency with Golden Russets arriving in England is, 
however, toward such a small size that they do not make over average 
prices. The Roxbury Russet is also a favorite. 

Apples of superior varieties, like Newtown or Albemarle pippins, 
and superior apples of ordinary varieties, may be depended upon to 
bring their value. Twenty-ounce Pippins, Cranberry Pippins, 
"Kings," and Ribstones, for instance, of large size and good color, 
would range from $3.25 to $4.50 per Canadian barrel, when good 
Baldwins were selling for $2.50 to $3.25. 


Any apple of good color and fair size will sell in England if sound, 
but the profit is made in sending something better than the average. 
It costs no more to send a fine barrel of apples across the Atlantic than 
to send a medium barrel, and the return is better. The utmost care 
should be taken in the selection of the fruit. " If you discard a shil- 
ling's worth in packing, you may better your price 2 shillings," is the 
saying of a London broker. The fruit should be so packed that it 
can not shake together. It should arrive tight. If buyers find a bar- 
rel that rattles, it will reduce values from 25 to 50 cents, even though 
the contents be entirely uninjured. On the other hand, care should 
be taken that the fruit be not pressed too tight, for if the top layer is 
bruised or unduly flattened it reduces the price from 50 cents to $1. 
A few consignments have reached England in boxes from time to 
time, but there is no apparent advantage in boxing, though Tasmanian 
apples are thus forwarded. In a good season "faney brands" of 
apples of exceptional quality and appearance might perhaps be 
advantageously shipped in small boxes, but the fruit must be very 
special or the enhanced cost of the small boxes is not recouped. 



Agricultural colleges and experiment stations are teaching the 
science of agriculture. But they are not generally teaching farm 
economics and the importance of markets. Science is constantly 
showing the farmer how to increase the annual product per acre in 
cereals and other staples, but the great qtiestion confronting each tiller 
of the soil is how to secure satisfactory remuneration for the results of 
his toil. In view of this, it is a legitimate function of the Department 
of Agriculture to place before the farmers of the United States as 
many facts and figures relative to markets as it is possible to obtain. 


In furtherance of this design, the Section of Foreign Markets was 
organized on March 20, 1894, for the purpose of collecting and dis- 
seminating information calculated to assist in securing a more extended 
market abroad for the agricultural products of the United States. 
The work of the section, with this object in view, is twofold in char- 
acter. It comprises not only the publication of a regular series of 
bulletins and circulars, but also the furnishing of information in 
response to special inquiries. Eight bulletins relating to as many 
different countries, viz, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and 
Ireland, the German Empire, France, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, 
Norway, and Sweden, have already been issued, and bulletins upon 
Denmark and Mexico are now in course of preparation. Each country 
is treated with a view to its possibilities as a customer of the United 

The natural resources of the country are described in some detail, 
and also the character and extent of the leading productive industries, 
but more especial attention is given to the subject of foreign com- 
merce. A detailed statement of the principal articles of merchandise 
imported and the various sources from which they are received is pre- 
sented, together with such information regarding customs duties and 
regulations, equivalents of foreign weights and measures, rates of 
exchange, etc. , as may be of service to American producers seeking a 
foreign market for their products. Appended to each bulletin is a 
series of reports received through the medium of the State Depart- 
ment from our consular representatives abroad. These consular 
reports are designed to set forth such opportunities as exist for 
increased trade with the United States, and they frequently contain 
information of great value to American exporters. 

In addition to the bulletins described, the Section of Foreign Mar- 
kets has thus far issued ten special circulars upon subjects affecting 
our foreign commerce. The statistical data presented in the bulletins 
and circulars of the section are derived as far as possible from the 


official publications of the countries treated, and to render their sta- 
tistics more readily intelligible, foreign moneys, weights, and measures 
are converted into their equivalents in the denominations used in the 
United States. 

An important part of the work of the Section of Foreign Markets 
consists in supplying information in response to the many inquiries 
that are received relative to the extension of our foreign trade. 
These inquiries cover a wide range of investigation, and it frequently 
entails a large amount of labor to supply the information desired. 
Among the sources of inquiry to which information has been fur- 
nished may be mentioned other Departments and offices of the Gov- 
ernment, Representatives in Congress, and Congressional committees, 
boards of trade, chambers of commerce, and other commercial and 
agricultural organizations, and newspapers and periodicals devoted 
to agriculture or trade. 

The numerous requests for information received by the section and 
the large demand for its publications serve in a measure to indicate 
the importance of the work that it is attempting to perform. The 
rapid development of the agricultural resources of the United States 
has resulted in an annual production far in excess of the consuming 
capacity of our population. To such a degree has the surplus increased 
that its disposal is fast becoming a grave problem. The logical 
solution lies in the extension of our markets beyond the sea. To 
accomplish this in the face of the keen competition that other great 
producing countries are prepared to offer, an accurate and thorough 
knowledge of the conditions to be met is quite essential. The inves- 
tigation of these conditions and the diffusion of the information thus 
acquired comprise the work for which the Section of Foreign Markets 
was created. 


During the last twelve months marked and valuable improvements 
have been made in the Weather Bureau. Accurate forecasts of the 
weather are the most valuable service rendered by this Bureau to the 
general public. Storm warnings, forecasts of falling temperature, 
and predictions of other atmospheric changes and phenomena have 
been very satisfactorily and oftentimes perfectly verified during the 
past year. More than 10,000 cities, villages, and towns have been 
added to the list of beneficiaries of the Weather Bureau service in 
the same time, and expenditures have been less than for any twelve 
months during the past fifteen years, except one, in which they were 
substantially the same. 

New and ingenious inventions have been furnished to the principal 
observer stations for the purpose of expeditiously printing, in a more 
legible manner, the daily Weather Bureau maps which are posted in 
the leading cities and towns of the country, while the methods for 


distributing the useful information furnished by the Bureau have been 
greatly perfected and extended, through the mails, to the smaller 
villages and post-offices. 

A "Weather Bureau service especially for the benefit of the cereal 
growers has also been established, so that now the area producing 
that staple is served in precisely the same manner as those vast areas 
which produce cotton. 


Warnings have been heralded and signals displayed throughout the 
country well in advance of all the cold waves of any intensity which 
have occurred during the year. The value of such warnings was 
especially appreciated when the severe cold wave which swept, between 
January 1 to 5, 1896, from the northern Rocky Mountain region south- 
wai'd to the Gulf of Mexico and eastward over all the States along 
the Atlantic Ocean was forecasted and afterwards verified. Con- 
gratulatory acknowledgments from commercial bodies and from 
shippers of perishable merchandise indicate a saving through the 
various storm warnings similar to the above of several millions of 
dollars. "Warnings of approaching cold waves of intense freezing 
power enabled owners of perishable property to protect their com- 
modities in time, and the warnings thus rendered inestimable benefit 
to commerce. 

Hurricane forecasts have been given to people along the Atlantic 
Coast several times and with the best of results to shippers and ship- 
ping. Three severe West India hurricanes swept the coast of the 
United States from Florida to New England and two others passed off- 
shore, but sufficiently near to seriously endanger the craft just leaving 
port. Twenty-four hours or more in advance of each of these storms, 
danger signals announced their coming. Not a single vessel was lost, 
and comparatively little property was destroyed belonging to those 
who heeded the warnings. On the Great Lakes a similar system has 
been inaugurated and successfully operated. In the harbor of Buffalo 
alone during the last winter a total of more than 150 vessels, aggre- 
gating millions of dollars in value and having thousands of persons 
on board, were detained in port by the Weather Bureau forecasts, 
without which every one of the vessels would have been jeopardized 
in perilous storms. 

ISTo very great floods have occurred in or along our big rivers during 
the past year, though the sudden melting of the snow at the head 
wafers of the Allegheny caused a moderate freshet in the Ohio River 
in the latter part of March and in the beginning of April, 1896. A 
warning, however, had been issued by the Weather Bureau and pre- 
vented much loss of property. During July of the last summer 
unusually heavy rains prevailed in the South and Middle Atlantic 
States which caused floods in the rivers of Virginia, North Carolina, 
and South Carolina. Prom those States the Weather Bureau received 


reports showing a saving in stock, crops, and merchandise on the low- 
lands amounting to thousands of dollars, and also stating that vast 
values of logs and other property on those rivers were likewise saved 
as a result of the timely admonitions. 

The Chief of the Weather Bureau shows in his annual report that 
the average verification of forecasts during the year was 82.4 per cent. 
This is an improvement of 2 per cent over the previous year. The 
Bureau continues its investigations in the science of meteorology. 
Prominence has been given during the year to the subject of aerial 
investigations. Much work has been devoted to the development of 
appliances for upper-air exploration . The future will demonstrate the 
value of these incursions into the upper strata of the atmosphere. 


During the fiscal year 376 publications were put out by the United 
States Department of Agriculture, principally for gratuitous circula- 
tion. They aggregated six million five hundred and sixty-one thou- 
sand seven hundred (6,561,700) copies. The total number of pages is, 
however, less than were contained in the 254 publications of the pre- 
vious year, and even less than those in the 205 publications of the 
year 1894. The policy of condensation and abbreviation has been 
firmly established as to bulletins and circulars issuing from this 
Department. By a careful and critical editing of the matter sent into 
the Division of Publications, terseness and lucidity have been stamped 
upon all agricultural literature disseminated by the Department. 

Farmers* Bulletins, two-thirds of which are distributed by Senators, 
Representatives, and Delegates in Congress, were printed to the num- 
ber of one million eight hundred and ninety-one thousand (1,891,000) 
copies, and, of those, one million three hundred and sixteen thousand 
six hundred and ninety-five (1,316,695) copies were delivered to Sen- 
ators, Representatives, and Delegates. The average cost of Farmers' 
Bulletins during the year was 1.3 cents each. 


The method of distributing Department publications has been mate- 
rially modified and improved under the act of January 12, 1895. The 
mailing lists of the Department have been carefully revised. They 
include now only those who render some reciprocal service, or 
who, from educational or official position, are entitled to recognition. 
Besides those persons, universities, colleges, academies, and public 
libraries receive publications of the Department when they apply for 
them. Remaining publications not required for distribution by the 
Department, as above outlined, are transmitted to the Superintendent 
of Documents. He holds them for sale at prices barely adequate to 
pay for their printing. Up to June 30, 1896, the number sold by that 
officer was 2,818. 



The act referred to is, however, in need of amendments. It limits 
to 1,000 copies every publication exceeding 100 octavo pages, unless 
otherwise ordered by Congress. This proviso has seriously interfered 
with the utility of the Department in its lawful and prescribed duty 
of disseminating information in accordance with the law creating the 
Department. Legally, under the present method of distribution, only 
those persons decided to be properly entitled to them, may receive 
publications free of charge. Therefore, the thousand copies' limita- 
tion is an unnecessary and inequitable restriction, and does injustice 
to many citizens who are actively and usefully cooperating with the 
Department for the love of agriculture itself and without pecuniary 


The Public Printer may, under this law, supply at cost to parties 
asking for them while the work is in press a limited number (not 
exceeding 250 copies) of any publication. For electrotype plates of 
the same he is required to charge an amount sufficient to cover the 
entire cost, including composition, manufacture of the plates, and 10 
per cent additional. These provisions limit the distribution of the 
publications containing useful information while they save the Gov- 
ernment nothing. Such sales ought to be made only upon the ap- 
proval of the head of the Department and subject to regulations made 
by the Public Printer, but some method should be adopted by which 
the publications of the Department of Agriculture, at least, may be 
indefinitely multiplied without public cost and by private enterprise. 

Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Government itself 
can continue for the next five years, even, to increase its publications 
for gratuitous distribution in the same ratio that such publications 
have increased during the last five years without disbursing many 
millions of dollars. Many good citizens disapprove of the Govern- 
ment or any Department thereof becoming a competitor with the 
authors and publishers of books relating to pisciculture, geology, 
horticulture, entomology, agriculture, and kindred sciences. And it 
is frequently asked why discriminations should be made and useful 
literature published by the Government and circulated gratuitously 
among the people upon a particular line of subjects, employments, 
and interests, while all other vocations are left to think out and pub- 
lish their own literature. 


While the act of January 12, 1895, was presumably designed to 
effect economy in the work of publications, and while it has to some 
extent fulfilled this design in the way of limiting the free promiscuous 


distribution of Government documents, it has in some respects 
increased rather than decreased expenses. The expense of conduct- 
ing the branch printing office of this Department under the conditions 
imposed by the act in question amounts to $16,000 yearly, which is 
considerably more than twice as much as it has cost previously, and 
though there has been marked improvement in both the quantity and 
quality of the work, the increased expense has been disproportionate 
to the benefits obtained. As regards the economy effected under the 
act by reason of the restrictions which it permits — and in fact enjoins— 
in the distribution of public documents, it is discouraging in the 
extreme to find efforts at economy in this direction neutralized by 
special appropriations for the printing and free distribution of certain 
publications, the need for which exists in some cases so little that not 
a single copy is provided for the use of this Department, notwith- 
standing the fact that the cost of the work is deliberately added to 
the appropriations estimated for as necessary by the Secretary of 
Agriculture. In the act making appropriations for this Department 
for the current fiscal year, $82,500 was so added for the purpose of 
printing 60,000 copies each of the Report upon the Diseases of the 
Horse and the Report upon Diseases of Cattle, to be given away by 

Strenuous efforts have been made by the present Secretary in behalf 
of economy in this line as well as in others. And yet the increased 
number of publications have made it necessary to ask for an appro- 
priation for printing in this Department of nearly $100,000, and also 
for a further increase in the appropriation for the editing, illustrat- 
ing, and distributing of the carloads of matter yearly evolved by the 
several bureaus and divisions. 


The Division of Publications now embraces the work of distribution. 
Heretofore it included only editing and illustrating. The several 
appropriations expended under the direction of Mr. George William 
Hill, chief of this division, aggregate $170,000. The total appropria- 
tion of 1896 is considerably less than 50 per cent over that made for 
1894, while the number of publications issued exceeds this year by 85 
per cent those issued in 1894, and the total number of copies is 100 
per cent greater. This is sufficient evidence that the appropriations 
for this division have been carefully, efficiently, and economically 
handled, and that the increase of money disbursed is unavoidable 
simply owing to the constantly increasing issue of publications by 
the Department. 

In 1891 appropriations for the purposes of publication in the United 
States Department of Agriculture amounted to $87,600. Only 124 
bulletins, pamphlets, and other documents were issued, and the total 
number of copies printed was 2,384,447. But during the year 1896 


appropriations of $172,740 paid for the 376 publications, numbering 
6,561,700 copies. The increase in expenditure was less than 100 per 
cent, the increase in number of publications more than 300 per cent, 
and the increase in the number of copies distributed 175 per cent. 
And during the year 1896 the salary list of the Division of Publica- 
tions, including work of editing, illustrating, and all other office labor 
involved, has been actually less than it was in 1891. 

In view of the foregoing facts, the estimates for the work of the 
Division of Publications for the next fiscal year must, it is believed, 
commend themselves as reasonable and necessary. 


The contract for furnishing vegetable and garden seeds during the 
fiscal year 1896 was made with D. Landreth & Sons, of Philadelphia, 
Pa., and that for flower seeds was made with L. L. May & Co., of 
St. Paul, Minn. Both contracts were let after consultation with and 
by and with the advice and approval of the chairmen of the Com- 
mittees on Agriculture in the United States Senate and House of 

The dissemination is tabulated and made explicit by well-considered 
figures in the report of the special agent who had the matter in charge. 

The seeds distributed gratuitously by the Government during the 
fiscal year closing on the 30th of June last weighed a little over 230 
tons. The cost of carrying them through the mails was over $70,000. 
They occupied 30 mail cars in transportation. 

Careful computation shows that the seeds sent out by the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture during the year would have planted 21,038 acres 
of cabbage, 10,768 acres of lettuce, 10,712 acres of tomatoes, and other 
garden vegetables in proportionally large areas. Briefly, the seed 
gratuitously sent about the country would have planted more than 
115 square miles of garden. In other words, it would have planted a 
strip of ground 1 rod in width and 36,817 miles in length. Such a 
sMp would reach one and one-half times around the globe, and a pas- 
senger train going at the rate of 60 miles an hour would require 51 
days 3 hours and 14 minutes to travel from one end of this gratui- 
tously seeded truck patch to the other. 

Each Congressional quota contained seed enough to plant more than 
163-J- acres. 

The 10,125,000 packets of vegetable seeds cost the Government 
$75,000, while the transportation of the same through the mails added 
the sum of $74,520, making a total cost directly to the Government of 
§149,520 for the gratuity, paid for by money raised from all the people, 
and bestowed upon a few people. 

Samples of all seeds sent out were carefully and thoroughly tested 
by Mr. Gilbert H. Hicks, expert, as to purity and germinative power. 
A complete record has been kept of all the shipments of blank franks 


and also of the miscellaneous lots of addressed franks from each Sena- 
tor and Member of Congress, and receipts have been taken from the 
postmaster and postal clerk furnished by the Post-Office Department 
during the shipment of the seeds. Records of the mail packages 
show by whose orders they were mailed, to whom sent, the post-office 
address, and the dates they were sent out. 


For the year ending June 30, 1897, seeds have been contracted for 
amounting to $130,000 in value. Owing to lower prices, it is safe to 
say that each Congressional quota will be nearly double what it was 
in the year 1896. And careful estimates make it obvious that the 
gratuitous distribution of seed by the Government during the year 
1897 will amount, at retail price valuation, to more than $2,000,000. 
And because of this competition of free seed with the retail seedsmen 
of the country, an attempt was made recently to enjoin the Depart- 
ment from purchasing seed with the appropriation made at the last 
session of Congress. But the injunction was denied, and thus the 
great privilege of gratuitously furnishing garden and flower seeds to 
a small per cent of the people out of money raised from the revenues 
of all the people was conserved to Members of Congress and the offi- 
cers of the Department of Agriculture. It is estimated that the distri- 
bution for this year will be sufficient to plant about 230 square miles 
of ground, and will therefore employ in the distribution about 60 
mail cars. 

The Secretary of Agriculture sincerely regrets this unnecessary and 
wasteful expenditure of public moneys, and hopes that Congress may 
in good time put a stop thereto. 


By authority of act of Congress making appropriations for the 
Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, 
and also in subsequent acts, examination of the work and supervision 
of the expenditures of the agricultural experiment stations estab- 
lished under act of March 2, 1887, have been made. A report of these 
investigations has been sent to Congress. It shows that the operations 
of a majority of the experiment stations have been within the scope 
and letter of the law. Some stations, however, are still defective 
in their organization and work. They do not use sufficient care in 
the expenditure of the funds as provided for by the terms of their 
organic act. 

The expansion of the experiment station enterprise immediately 
following the passage of that organic act was too rapid to be either 
wise or deliberate. It necessitated the employment of many officers 
who had not proper scientific education or experience. Imperfect com- 
prehension of the functions and duties of experiment stations on the 


part of governing boards and officers intrusted with the management 
of the stations has in many instances led to misdirected effort; in 
some to superficial work, and in others to expenditure of the public 
funds for work not contemplated in the original act. 

It was, however, impossible to organize, simultaneously, fifty or sixty 
new institutions for original scientific research of an entirely novel 
character without falling into many errors. This criticism, therefore, 
of misdirected efforts is meant for the few and not for all. 

Some institutions have made the error of confusing work and 
expenditure intended for instruction with that intended for experi- 
mentation. Some stations expended large sums of money in what 
may have seemed experimenting, but was in reality the conduct and 
maintenance of large farms on which general crops (with, perhaps, 
some improved methods) were produced. 


The experiment station was not designed to be a model farm. 
There is neither warrant in law nor justification in circumstances for 
making it such. 

Another seeming misuse of funds has been brought about by the 
acceptance of donations of farms from enterprising citizens or from 
communities upon condition that permanent substations should be 
established upon them. Such farms have been often accepted without 
properly considering the nature of the soil of the land donated or the 
real needs of the locality. Thus much money has been wasted for 
building and equipments upon farms where only superficial and tem- 
porary experiments can be conducted. 

In some cases too frequent changes in boards of control, resulting in 
changes of policy with regard to the station and changes in the station 
staff, have worked great injury and discouragement. An experiment 
station's proper management has no possible relation to any political 
party whatsoever. It should be in the hands of the best experienced 
and most practical scientists of the State or Territory. It should be 
permitted to go on increasing its utility and establishing its perma- 
nence without political interference. 

Some stations have endeavored to cover too many lines of work. 
Many stations were organized originally as so-called "all-around sta- 
tions." They had a large staff of officers called "agriculturists," 
"chemists," "botanists," "entomologists," and "horticulturists." 
They paid small salaries, and, with few facilities for work, achieved 
small results. Most of the officers were obtained from the agricultural 
college faculties. They were allowed very little time from their teach- 
ing duties therein, and consequently could not thoroughly conduct 
experimental investigations. In some cases this practice led to an 
almost total diffusion and exhaustion of the experimental and station 
funds. Such stations had no definite aim and organization, and some- 
times little administrative ability. Every station should have its own 


executive head or secretary, like any other department in the college, 
and he should report to the president or chancellor who represents the 
controlling board. 


It is regretted that so many of these institutions for higher scien- 
tific education in the United States have been limited as to funds with 
which to make original research; much useful investigation has, 
however, been carried out by professors connected with them, not- 
withstanding very limited means, purely from a love of science. 
Largely this has been accomplished outside of their regular duties 
and at great inconvenience and expense to themselves personally. 

The experiment station act gives the land-grant agricultural col- 
leges $15,000 per annum especially for original research in agriculture. 
This is equivalent to 5 per cent per annum upon an endowment of 
$300,000 for each station. And this fund ought to be regarded as a 
sacred trust and devoted entirely to the advancement of agricultural 
science through conscientiously directed original research. If this 
course be pursued in all the institutions, as it has been faithfully 
pursued in some, practical agriculture will receive vastly increased 
benefits. The colleges themselves will be greatly strengthened in 
resources, and will attract to themselves more and better students of 
agriculture and allied sciences. 

A separate account of the funds bestowed by the National Govern- 
ment should be kept by the accounting officer of every college having 
an experiment station. Care ought to be taken that neither directly 
nor indirectly shall any part of this specific trust fund be diverted to 
general college purposes. 


Complying with the authority granted by Congress, the United 
States Department of Agriculture formulated general principles and 
regulations for the guidance of experiment station expenditures. 
This was for the purpose of bringing the disbursement of those insti- 
tutions within the provisions and intent of the law. It is hoped that 
hereafter these directions will be accurately carried out in every 
respect. If the United States experiment stations do not universally 
conform to the literally correct interpretation of the organic act, it 
will become necessary to amend the law so as to definitely describe 
the functions of the institutions and absolutely compel a more rigid 
accounting for the funds appropriated by the Government of the 
United States. 

Investigations made up to this time verify and affirm the wisdom 
of the recommendations for the expenditure of these moneys under 
the supervision and direction of officers of the United States which 
were made by the Secretary of Agriculture in his report for the fiscal 


year 1893. The necessity of a governmental and a strict accounting 
for these funds is generally recognized by the governing boards and 
officers of all the experiment stations. 


Propositions have been made in Congress and elsewhere looking to 
the establishment of an agricultural experiment station in Alaska, 
but information as to the present condition and possibilities of agri- 
culture in that Territory is so limited that a recommendation for the 
establishment of a station therein is not warranted. Until there 
shall have been made a preliminary examination of the soil and cli- 
matic capabilities of Alaska, it is deemed unwise to establish stations 
therein. But the estimates for appropriations for the coming fiscal 
year include one of $5,000 for the purpose of making explorations and 
investigations as to the agricultural resources of that Territory. 


The appropriations for looking into the nutritive value of the vari- 
ous articles and commodities used for human food were continued 
and increased by Congress for the past fiscal year. The supervision 
of the work accomplished under this appropriation remained in charge 
of the Office of Experiment Stations, and the general policy pursued 
was that outlined in previous reports. As stated in the report of the 
Secretary of Agriculture for the year 1895, the effort has been made 
"to build up centers of inquiry where the more scientific and funda- 
mental problems can be best investigated, where workers in this line 
can be efficiently trained, where the importance and usefulness of 
accurate information regarding the rational nutrition of man will be 
impressed upon large bodies of students and from which the practical 
results of food investigations may be widely and efficiently dissemi- 

Experiment stations, agricultural colleges, and other educational 
institutions, as well as some benevolent associations, have joined 
with the Department in making these valuable investigations. The 
funds at the disposal of the Department were more economically and 
efficiently used in the encouragement of researches on the food and 
nutrition of man at institutions of learning, in various parts of the 
country, which would contribute the services of experts, laboratories, 
and other resources, than they could have been in any other way. 
In nearly every locality where nutrition investigations have been con- 
ducted they have been with the cooperation of some institution of 
learning. Thus the assistance of those especially interested in this 
kind of research has been secured; thus the inquiries have been 
rendered more effective; thus the results, besides being reported to 
the Department, have been disseminated by publications throughout 
the country, and thus also they have been generally utilized to the 


best advantage. Under no other system of operation could so large 
an amount of good have been accomplished with the appropriations 
which Congress made for this specific purpose. The data already 
collated are much more numerous and extensive than could have 
been obtained in years by the Department alone, unaided by the coop- 
eration of colleges, universities, and their professors. 

Reference is made to the report of the Office of Experiment Stations, 
under whose direction these researches have been pursued, for inter- 
esting details of the work. 


In the future may it not be possible for an arrangement to be made, 
in accordance with law, between the presidents of agricultural colleges 
and the directors of experiment stations on the one hand and the 
United States Civil Service Commission on the other hand by which 
the certificates of the former as to industry, ability, and character will 
permit their graduates, under the direction of the Secretary of Agri- 
culture, to enter the service without competitive examinations? If 
a reasonable construction of existing law permits those who have 
devoted years of study at experiment stations and in agricultural col- 
leges, and thus made themselves especially skilled and expert in 
specific lines of investigation, to enter the scientific bureaus and divi- 
sions of the United States Department of Agriculture after a rigid 
examination by their preceptors and certification by them as to their 
merits, will not the country begin at once to realize direct benefits 
from experiment stations and agricultural colleges which under the 
present system seem to be wanting ? 

In short, by a judicious extension of civil-service rules can not the 
agricultural colleges be increased as to number of students and at 
the same time made a scientific rendezvous whence the Department 
of Agriculture may with certainty always draft into its service the 
highest possible ability and acquirements in specific lines of scientific 
research ? 


Reviewing the operations of the Department, it is shown that there 
has been a material advance in the practical utility of the work car- 
ried on by the several chiefs of bureaus and divisions of the Depart- 
ment during the last four years. Some lines of investigation have been 
suspended, and others, notably those of soils and grasses and nutri- 
tion investigation, have been instituted. It is believed that the Sec- 
tion of Foreign Markets will prove of great educational and commercial 
advantage to the farmers of the country. It is also obvious that the 
improvements which have been made have not added to the burden 
of the public expense. 


In this last report of the present Secretary of Agriculture he 
acknowledges with cheerfulness the efficient cooperation of the em- 
ployees of the Department. He likewise gladly acknowledges his 
indebtedness to the Chief Executive of the nation, who at all times has 
given his encouragement and support to every effort made in behalf 
of a businesslike and economical management of this Department. 

Estimates for the ensuing year have been discussed carefully by the 
Secretary and his able assistant and those chiefs of divisions and 
bureaus whose positions and intelligent zeal have rendered their 
advice valuable and desirable. The appropriations estimated for 
the next year are reasonable and just. Whatever useful results may 
be obtained by their proper disbursement will redound to the honor 
of the succeeding Secretary of Agriculture, under whose immediate 
direction they are to be expended. 

The recommendations of former reports as to the importance of 
speedily providing new and adequate buildings for the proper accom- 
modation of the Department of Agriculture are strenuously renewed. 

In this connection it is a duty to protest against the inexcusable 
practice of including in the appropriations for this Department funds 
to be expended by the heads of other Departments or of bureaus in 
other Departments over which the Secretary of Agriculture has no 
supervision or control. For the current fiscal year there was included 
the sum of $82,500 in the appropriations for the Department of Agri- 
culture for certain publications to be distributed by Members of the 
Senate and House of Representatives. Over that sum of money and 
the publications provided for no officer of this Department has the 
slightest supervision. In the same bill there is an appropriation 
made of $4,500 for the Geological Survey, which rightfully should 
have been charged to the Department of the Interior. There is 
neither equity nor good reason for charging to the account of one 
Department expenditures which are to be made by the officers of 
another and for which the head of the Department to which the 
appropriation is charged can be in nowise held responsible. 


The farmers of the United States hold 72 out of each 100 farms — 
occupied by their owners — absolutely free from mortgages or other 
incumbrances. The debts secured by liens upon lands used for tillage 
and the production of crops aggregate, after throwing out the mort- 
gage indebtedness of railroads and other corporations, less than one- 
sixth of the total indebtedness of the citizens of the United States 
secured upon real estate. 

Out of each thousand farms in the United States only 282 are mort- 
gaged, and three-fourths of the money represented by the mortgages 
upon the 282 farms was for the purchase of those farms or for money 
borrowed to improve those farms. And the prevalent idea that the 


West and the South are more heavily burdened with farm mortgages 
than the East and Northeast sections of the United States is entirely 

The States along the North Atlantic shores are quite heavily encum- 
bered with farm mortgages, and New Jersey carries a debt of this 
kind greater, in proportion to its farm valuations, than any State in 
the American Union. 

The constant complaint by the alleged friends of farmers, and by 
some farmers themselves, is that the Government does nothing for 
agriculture. In conventions and congresses it has been proclaimed 
that the farmers of the country are almost universally in debt, despon- 
dent, and suffering. Largely these declarations are without founda- 
tion. Their utterance is a belittlement of agriculture and an indignity 
to every intelligent and practical farmer of the United States. The 
free and independent farmers of this country are not impoverished; 
they are not mendicants; they are not wards of the Government to be 
treated to annuities, like Indians upon reservations. On the other 
hand, they are the representatives of the oldest, most honorable, and 
most essential occupation of the human race. Upon it all other voca- 
tions depend for subsistence and prosperity. The farmer is the 
copartner of the elements. His intelligently directed efforts are in 
unison with the light and heat of the sun, and the success of his labors 
represents the commingling of the raindrops and his own sweat. 

Legislation can neither plow nor plant. The intelligent, practical, 
and successful farmer needs no aid from the Government. The 
ignorant, impractical, and indolent farmer deserves none. It is not 
the business of Government to legislate in behalf of any class of citi- 
zens because they are engaged in any specific calling, no matter how 
essential the calling may be to the needs and comforts of civilization. 
Lawmakers can not erase natural laws nor restrict or efface the oper- 
ation of economic laws. It is a beneficent arrangement of the order 
of things and the conditions of human life that legislators are not 
permitted to repeal, amend, or revise the laws of production and 


The attention of those who complain of the condition of the Ameri- 
can farmer and the hardships which, by stress of the competition of 
all the farmers of all the world, he is at times compelled to endure, is 
called to the fact that nearly 2,000,000 of farms of 80 acres each in the 
United States have been given away by the Government under the 
homestead act of 1866, during the last thirty years. Those farms con- 
tain many millions of acres of arable land. 

This giving of something for nothing has resulted in an abnormally 

rapid increase of the acreage under tillage in the United States during 

the last thirty years. This also has caused decline in farm land 

values in the Eastern and older States. Under the timber-culture 

12A96 i 


law the amount donated was equivalent to over 550,000 more farms of 
the same size. This takes no account of the desert-land laws, under 
which numberless choice locations were given away, or of the large 
body of land patented to States and corporations and sold at merety 
nominal prices to build up the country. Lands long tilled and ren- 
dered partially infertile could not, of course, enhance in value and 
sell in competition with virgin soil which was being donated by the 
General Government. Lines of rail transportation have either pio- 
neered the homestead lands or quickly followed their settlement. 
Reduction in the cost of carriage has made the long haul of the 
products from those far-away — given-away — farms but a trifle more 
than the freight upon products grown in the Middle and Eastern 
States going to the same domestic markets or to those of Europe. 

No legislation relative to the public domain has been so directly 
inimical to the farmers who had bought and paid for the lands upon 
which they lived and labored. Until the homestead law came into 
vigor, in 1866, the farmers of the United States competed with each 
other upon land representing accumulated capital and fixed invest- 
ments, but after the homestead-law lands began to produce and ship 
into market crops from the vast area of fertility which they represent, 
Eastern and Middle States' land values declined. It was impossible 
for them to enhance in competition with fresher and more productive 
land obtained as gratuities by other farmers. It was equally impos- 
sible — demand remaining stationary and supply suddenly increas- 
ing — for farmers in the older States to profitably sell their products 
in competition with those of the newer States grown upon lands which 
cost their owners nothing. 


Many misinformed persons have declared in their lamentations as 
to the alleged wrongs of farmers that even money lenders charge 
greater rates of interest for money loaned upon lands occupied as 
farms than for that loaned upon other kinds of real estate. So much 
has been said relative to this subject that it becomes a duty to present 
in indubitable shape the facts and figures regarding interest upon 
farm-land loans. 

The rate of interest charged on mortgages upon homes — that is, resi- 
dential property other than farms — averages throughout the United 
States eighty-four one-hundredths of 1 per cent less than the rate of 
interest charged upon farm loans. In seventeen States the average 
rate charged on the latter loans is less than that demanded for loans 
upon other homes and residential property. In two States the rates 
ai*e the same upon urban and rural real estate. In Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, 
Iowa, and Kansas, and in Texas and Alabama, the rates of interest 
are less upon money secured by farm mortgages than they are in those 
States upon money secured by other realty. 


In five States, including Kansas, the difference in favor of the 
farmer is from one-fourth to one-half of 1 per cent per annum, and in 
Texas it is over 1 per cent. 

The agriculturist is not discriminated against as compared with any 
other class of citizens when he comes to borrow money. But if the 
"Western farmer does pay a somewhat higher rate of interest than he 
would have to pay in the East, so does the "Western merchant, lumber- 
man, banker, common carrier, or manufacturer also have to pay a 
higher rate than persons engaged in the same business nearer the 
money centers. 

During the last ten years in the "Western States there has been a 
steady maintenance of land values in nearly all sections, and in some 
an enhancement of the prices of land. Between 1880 and 1890 the 
increase of farming-land values, as reported by the occupants of the 
farms themselves, was more than enough to offset the entire interest 
charge for the decade in most of the great agricultural States of the 
West and South. In Kansas and Nebraska the increase of land values 
in that period of time exceeded the entire farm incumbrance, princi- 
pal and interest. In the States of Washington and California it was 
nearly twice as great as the combined principal and interest. In fact, 
where the interest was highest the increase in value was greatest. 

Average interest rate per annum on farm mortgages in force in 1890. 

Per cent. 

North Atlantic States . 5.62 

South Atlantic States *. , 6.64 

North Central States.... 7.43 

South Central States 8.05 

Western States 1 9.08 

The United States 7.07 

Taking the country as a whole, the most numerous class of farm 
mortgages and that representing the largest total incumbrance was the 
class that paid 6 per cent. 

North Atlantic Group. 

Per cent. 

Proportion of farm mortgages paying 5 per cent interest, or under 30.60 

Proportion paying not more than 6 per cent 98.16 

North Central Group. 

Proportion paying not more than 6 per cent interest 21.34 

Proportion paying not more than 7 per cent interest 51.60 

Proportion paying not more than 8 per cent interest. - 83.54 

Western Cfroup. 

Proportion paying not more than 8 per cent interest 37. 74 

Proportion paying not more than 10 per cent interest 88. 14 

1 Rocky Mountain region and Pacific Slope. 


Typical States and average rates of interest on farm mortgages. 

Per cent. 

Pennsylvania 5.43 

Massachusetts 5.58 

New York 5.66 

Ohio 6.68 

Indiana - 6.89 

Illinois.... 6.92 

Wisconsin --- 6.64 

Michigan 7.10 

Iowa - 7.36 

Missouri 7.93 

Kansas 8.15 

Per cent. 

Minnesota 8.18 

Nebraska 8.22 

Colorado 9.23 

South Dakota 9.52 

NorthDakota 9.54 

Wyoming 10.92 

Idaho 10.55 

Utah 10.13 

Washington 9.87 

Oregon 9.06 

California 8.78 


Attention is called to the fact that during the fiscal year just ended 
the exported products of American farms aggregated a value of 
$570,000,000. That is a gain of $17,000,000 over the preceding year. 
During the fiscal year 1896 agricultural products make up only 66 per 
cent of the total exports of the United States, as against 70 per cent in 
1895, 72 per cent in 1894, and 74 per cent in 1893. But the reason of a 
relatively decreased value of 4 per cent, with an increase in the absolute 
valuation of agricultural products shipped in the year 1896, amount- 
ing to $17,000,000 more than those of the preceding year, 1895, is solely 
due to the unprecedented sale abroad of American manufactured 
goods and commodities, the exports of which .from the United States 
jumped from a valuation of one hundred and eighty-four millions of 
dollars ($184,000,000) in 1895 to two hundred and twenty-eight millions 
of dollars ($228,000,000) in 1896. 


It is admitted by all economists that general prosperity depends 
absolutely upon agricultural prosperity. The largest market for the 
products of agriculture and for the products of the manufactories is 
admittedly the home market. It is, however, true that the export 
trade is the regulator, the balance wheel, for domestic trade. There- 
fore, it follows that the interest of the manufacturer, as well as of the 
farmer, is found in the most rapid possible increase of the export of 
farm products. By such exportations farmers and those engaged in 
subsidiary arts, who constitute nearly one-half of the population of the 
United States, and who mainly create the demands of the home mar- 
ket for manufactured goods, will have an increasing power to buy 
those goods. On the other hand, the imported products of agriculture 
are limited in number. They are mainly sugar, wool, hemp, coffee, 
tropical fruits, and nuts. 

Any commercial system which will increase with celerity and extend 
with certainty the export of farm products from this country will be 


of the utmost advantage to agriculture and all those interested in its 
profitable expansion. And that political economy which best advances 
the interests of the agriculturists furnishes the best impetus to the 
manufacturers of the United States, because when the prosperity of 
the American farmer is established by virtue of constantly increasing 
sales of his products in foreign markets normal and legitimate protec- 
tion will have been secured to the American manufacturer, for his 
best customers are farmers and those engaged in occupations which 
depend directly for profit upon the prosperity of farmers. 


The best foreign markets for American products and commodities 
are among those nations whose power to buy things and pay for them 
has been augmented by the use of labor-saving inventions. The 
principal market, therefore, for American exports is found in the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and her colonies, which took dur- 
ing the last fiscal year $511,751,040 worth of exports from the United 
States. That is to say, English-speaking people bought 58 per cent 
of all commodities and products exported from the United States 
during the fiscal year 1896. Germany, France, Holland, and Belgium 
purchased during the same period of time $210,953,054 worth of exports 
from the United States. That is, the United Kingdom of Great Britain 
and the nations enumerated purchased 81.9 per cent of the entire 
export output of the United States during the fiscal year 1896. 

Other nations, including the remainder of Europe, Asia, Africa, and 
South America, took the balance of American exports, which amounted 
to $160,902,844 in value and to 18.1 per cent of the entire shipments 
of this country. 


The question for American farmers and all other citizens engaged 
in gainful occupations to consider is, How can the United States sup- 
ply the markets of the world with staple food products and necessary 
articles of manufacture ? If the labor cost of a product is governed 
by the rate of daily wages, how can a dollar's worth of farm products, 
or of commodities from manufactories in the United States, be sold in 
foreign parts ? 

Is not that nation which, like the United States, possesses the greatest 
power and facilities for producing and manufacturing those exchange- 
able things which the world demands destined to monopolize the mar- 
kets of the globe? Do not the most favorable natural conditions for 
varied and successful agriculture abound in the United States ? In 
what country is there less burden of national taxation ? What other 
people pay so little for the maintenance of a standing army? Who 
can compete with the American farmer or the American manufacturer 
in developing the best results of human toil with a minimum of human 



In the United States labor-saving inventions are applied in almost 
every avenue of production. Nowhere else on the globe has agricul- 
ture so many improved, useful, and ingenious devices, implements, 
and machines at its command. Therefore the exports of American 
farm products must increase ; and the sales from those exports, after 
yielding adequate profits to maintain the farm, -will yield also a higher 
rate of wages to those who do the mechanical and manual work than 
the wages paid in those nations which are our principal customers. 
Necessarily the wages paid in the United States — for instance, in the 
production of wheat and cotton, the great articles of export — are from 
50 to 500 per cent higher than they are in those countries with which 
we compete in selling our cotton and wheat; while in manufactures 
from the metals the wages paid those who make articles of iron and 
steel for export are from 25 to 100 per cent higher than the Avages 
paid workers in the same industries by the nations with which we 


Under the foregoing conditions, about 1,700,000 laborers on Ameri- 
can farms are almost constantly employed in developing agricultural 
products for exportation. 

At the same time, with a rapidly increasing export of manufactured 
articles from the United States, the number of laborers engaged in 
mechanical occupations, who must depend for their steady employ- 
ment upon the demand which the world makes for American goods, 
is constantly increasing. It is probably quite safe to declare that at 
least two millions of American workmen, on farms and in factories, 
subsist almost wholly upon employment based upon foreign demand 
for American commodities. And in this contest for feeding and fur- 
nishing mankind — notwithstanding the fierce competition which meets 
us all over the globe — American Agriculture, Manufacture, and Com- 
merce are steadily gaining more trade, and thus furnishing an 
enlarged wages fund, on a Gold basis, out of which many thousands 
of American laborers and skilled artisans draw their yearly remunera- 
tion, and upon which they and their families largely depend for 
employment and comfort. 

J. Sterling Morton, 


November 16, 1896. 

Since the original publication of the foregoing report additional 
information relative to the disposition of the public domain has 
become available, for which see the Appendix. 


By T. S. Pauker, 
First Assistant, Biological Survey, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

The payment of rewards or bounties for killing noxious animals is 
not a new idea. This method of extermination was adopted by the 
colonies of Massachusetts and Virginia before the middle of the seven- 
teenth century, and has been continued ever since, but neither the 
results nor the cost of such legislation seem to be generally known. 
Bounty laws have been passed by nearly every Stat© and Territory, 
and in 18&5were still in force in about thirty States and in six of the 
Canadian provinces. The expenditures have increased in the last 
decade, and more than $3,000,000 has been spent during the last 
twenty-five years. Since the burden of the expense falls on the com- 
munity at large, while the benefit is restricted to a comparatively small 
class, the question naturally arises as to how far the method has been 
successful, and whether the results warrant its continuance. 


More than a score of animals in the United States are considered 
sufficiently injurious to require radical measures for their extermi- 
nation. "Wolves, coyotes, panthers, bears, and lynxes are very de- 
structive, but perhaps do not cause greater loss than ground squirrels, 
pocket gophers, rabbits, and woodchucks. A few birds also, such 
as blackbirds, crows, English sparrows, hawks, and owls, are some- 
times included in the category of noxious species. The most plausi- 
ble and persistent demands for protection from the depredations of 
wild animals have come from owners of sheep and cattle, and many 
of the bounty laws have been enacted ostensibly to encourage sheep 
raising. No doubt this industry has many claims for this protection, 
but it may be noted that the most urgent demand for bounties in the 
West have come, not from the farmers or owners of small flocks, but 
from cattle and sheep men whose immense herds and flocks are pas- 
tured on Government land, and who claim that the cost of protecting 
their herds and flocks should be borne by the county or State. In 
some regions the losses on account of wolves and coyotes are so serious 
as to threaten the success of the sheep industry. It was estimated in 



1892 that in New Mexico, where the sheep were valued at $4,556,000, 
such losses varied from 3 to 7 per cent; in Nebraska the value of 
sheep was about $2,000,000, while the losses amounted to 5 per cent, 
or $100,000; and sheep owners in central Texas suffered losses on 
account of wild animals to the extent of 10 to 25 per cent. 1 Farmers, 
too, have just cause for complaint. In eastern Washington the grain 
fields and orchards are damaged every year by ground squirrels to the 
extent of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the losses are scarcely 
less in some parts of California, Montana, and North Dakota, while in 
most of the Western States orchardists and vineyardists suffer from 
the depredations of rabbits and pocket gophers. 

The value of bounties is not admitted by all, and those who are sup- 
posed to be most benefited by them are often the ones who complain 
most of the failure of the laws and the lack of real protection which 
they afford. Just previous to the passage of the present bounty law in 
Iowa a prominent sheep owner of Grinnell stated that it was impossi- 
ble to raise sheep in some parts of the State on account of the wolves, 
and he attributed the unsatisfactory conditions to the low rates and 
unequal bounties. 

Any scheme intended to bring about the extermination of a species 
must fulfill certain conditions before it can prove successful in prac- 
tice : (1) It must be applied over a wide area practically covering 
the range of the species, otherwise the animals will increase in the 
unprotected region; (2) it should be uniform (i. e., the rates should 
be the same) in all localities; (3) it should provide some inducement 
for carrying out its provisions; (4) it should be economical, for if 
expensive, the cost will exceed the losses which it seeks to avert; (5) 
it should provide so far as possible against fraud or the misappropria- 
tion of public funds. In order to see how far bounties have met these 
requirements, it will be necessary to review briefly the history of this 
legislation and to note the operation of some of the recent laws. 

Under the bounty system a fixed sum is offered for each animal, and 
the reward is paid to the claimant upon delivery of the skin or scalp. 
The amount of money which an individual may receive therefore 
depends entirely on his own efforts or on the condition of the public 
funds. It is urged in support of this method that the State or county 
pays only for the animals actually killed, and that it suffers no other 
expense, as the rewards are drawn from regular funds of the county 
and are disbursed by county officers oftentimes without additional 
compensation. It is sometimes claimed that this inducement to cap- 
ture animals furnishes employment to men and boys who do not desire 
or can not get other work, and are thus encouraged to labor for 
the benefit of the community, and that by increasing the rewards the 
extermination can be hastened whenever necessary. Simple and eco- 
nomical as this method appears theoretically, it has proved extremely 

1 Heath, Special Report on Sheep Industry in the United States, 1892. 


unsatisfactory and very costly in practice, and the mere fact that 
over three hundred laws have been enacted in the United States would 
seem to show that bounties have not accomplished all that was ex- 
pected of them. 


The first laws providing rewards for the destruction of wild animals 
seem to have been passed in Massachusetts about 1630 and in Virginia 
about 1632. Bounty legislation has therefore extended over more 
than two centuries and a half — a sufficient length of time, it would 
seem, to test its merits or defects. But so little attention has been 
paid to the matter that almost every State has been compelled to ex- 
periment for itself, instead of profiting by the experience of others, 
and has learned the limitations of the method only after spending 
thousands of dollars. 

The history of bounty legislation may be conveniently divided into 
three periods: (1) From 1630 to 1775; (2) from 1776 to 1865; (3) from 
1866 to 1896. These three periods are unequal in length (146, 90, and 
31 years), but the payments during the last period probably exceed 
those of the other two combined, although the number of years is 
only one-eighth as great. This is not due entirely to higher rates in 
recent years, for the payments in Maine between 1830 and 1865 were 
almost exactly the same as those from 1866 to 1895. 

During the colonial period bounties were confined mainly to wolves, 
and in Virginia for more than a century and a half the rewards were 
paid in tobacco, which was the usual medium of exchange in that 
colony. The general bounties were supplemented by special rewards 
paid by the counties, and the Indians were encouraged to aid in the 
work of extermination. In some of the colonies crows, squirrels, and 
blackbirds caused so much damage that rewards were offered for 
their scalps, and in South Carolina means were taken to protect the 
planters from the depredations of rice birds. The necessity for such 
protection was quaintly expressed in the act of 1695, as follows: 

Whereas the planters of this province do yearly suffer considerable damage by 
birds and beasts of prey in their stocks and crops, whereby, notwithstanding their 
continual care, they are'impoverished and discouraged, be it enacted * * * that 
every person or persons who shall kill and destroy the small blackbirds and rice 
birds shall receive half a royall per dozen, and for crows, jackdaws, and larks, 
shall receive one royall and a half per dozen. 

From 1776 to 1865 numerous laws were passed in the original 13 
States, and the bounty system was extended over most of the terri- 
tory east of the Mississippi River. Most of the rewards were paid for 
wolves, and the work of extermination, begun in Ohio and Kentucky 
in 1795, and in Tennessee in 1797, extended gradually westward to Mis- 
souri, Iowa, and Nebraska, and even to Washington. As time went 


on and the country gradually became settled, attention was paid to 
getting rid of other animals, such as bears, panthers, wild-cats, and 
foxes. In New England great numbers of crows were killed, particu- 
larly in Maine and New Hampshire, and in the latter State the kill- 
ing of hawks was encouraged at the expense of the public treasury. 
With the beginning of the war more important matters claimed the 
attention of legislators, and in most of the States little thought was 
given to bounties on wild animals. 

Since 1866 bounty laws have been passed in increasing numbers 
by nearly all the States and Territories. With the development of 
the West and the increase in cattle and sheep raising, the necessity 
for exterminating wolves and coyotes has become more apparent. 
Immense numbers of these animals have been killed in Montana, 
North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado; but they still 
seem to be very numerous. Several States have also offered pre- 
miums for foxes, wild-cats, minks, and even weasels. The success 
of the sheep men in their warfare against predatory animals encour- 
aged the farmers of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Plains region 
to demand appropriations from State and county treasuries for killing 
ground squirrels, gophers, and rabbits. This legislation has proved 
not only ineffective, but extremely expensive. The experiment has 
been tried in Minnesota, Montana, California, and North Dakota, and 
in each case the result has been disastrous to the treasury; in fact, 
no State thus far has been able to pay a general bounty on ground 
squirrels and gophers for any length of time. 

Bounties on birds, which were by no means uncommon in colonial 
times, have recently been revived in several States. Since 1875 an 
unusual interest has been manifested in the extermination of hawks 
and owls, notwithstanding the fact that it has been demonstrated 
that most of these birds are actually beneficial instead of injurious. 
Hawk laws were passed in Delaware, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, 
Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. 
The law in New Hampshire was repealed in 1881, after being in force 
for four years, but was again revived in 1893; the bounty in Colorado 
remained in force eight years, while the Pennsylvania "scalp act" 
was enforced only a year and a half, costing the State about $90,000 
for birds of prey alone. The extermination of crows was encouraged 
in New Hampshire from 1881 to 1883, and in Maine from 1889 to 1891. 
In the latter State 50,707 crows were killed at an expense of a little 
over $5,000. Illinois and Michigan have turned their attention to the 
English sparrow. Three acts have been passed in Michigan since 
1887, and have cost the State $61,800, while the law in Illinois, 
enacted in 1891, has involved an expenditure of $55,600. Premi- 
ums for birds are perhaps the most pernicious of all bounties. Dr. 
C. Hart Merriam has estimated that the poultry killed by hawks and 
owls in Pennsylvania in a year and a half would be worth $1,875. 


But every hawk and owl kills at least 1,000 mice in the course of the 
year, and therefore, estimating the damage done by a mouse at 2 
cents, each hawk and owl would save the farmer $20 per annum. In 
other words, the expenditure of $90,000 caused the destruction of 
birds worth $3,857,130 to save a possible loss of $1,875 to the poultry 
industry. 1 Although the crow is almost universally condemned, it 
is by no means certain that it is responsible for all the damage that 
is usually attributed to it. In fact, recent investigations by the 
Department of Agriculture show that the crow is rather more benefi- 
cial than injurious. The English sparrow is recognized everywhere 
as one of the greatest pests which could have been introduced into 
this country, but the offering of rewards for its destruction encour- 
ages the killing of native birds which are indistinguishable, from it 
to the unpracticed eye of the officer who pays the bounty. 


In 1895 laws providing bounties on wild animals were in force in 
about thirty States of the Union, but with the exception of New Mex- 
ico and Texas practically no rewards were offered in any of the States 
lying south of Iatitute 37°. North of this line bounty laws were in 
force in all the States except Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, 
Indiana, and possibly West Virginia. In some cases the expendi- 
tures were small, but in Minnesota, Montana, and "Wyoming the 
expense was heavy. 

It is extremely difficult to obtain accurate statistics regarding the 
cost of this legislation, owing to the fact that in some cases the 
rewards are paid from the State treasury, in others by counties. 
State bounties are usually included in the reports of the treasurer or 
auditor, but reports of county officers are seldom published in detail, 
and it is necessary to secure the data from the original records. 
When a change occurs in the office of county clerk or treasurer, 
the new incumbent frequently finds difficulty in unraveling the old 
accounts, and he may be entirely ignorant of an expenditure of 
thousands of dollars under his predecessor. Old records are some- 
times inaccessible and sometimes burned, so that it is practically 
impossible to obtain returns for a series of years. 

Reports of bounty payments during the last quarter of a century 
have been collected in detail from twenty-nine States. As shown in 
the table^ollowing, nearly $2,400,000 has been spent, but the returns 
are more or less incomplete from all the States except Maine, Mich- 
igan, Montana, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. No attempt 
has been made to secure statistics from twelve other States in which 
relatively small amounts have been paid, and it is safe to say that the 
total expenditures aggregate more than $3,000,000. 

'Report Commissioner of Agriculture, 1886, p. 228. 



Bounties paid on noxious animals and birds from 1871 to 1895. 

State or Territory. 

paid. 1 


State or Territory. 

paid. l 


















1885-1896 3 




















1 Short periods show the years for which returns are available and do not necessarily include 
the whole time bounties were in force, except in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mex- 
ico, Rhode Island, and Utah. 

" Estimated. 

3 To March 31. 

The cost of a law depends of course on the length of time that it 
remains in force ; but it is probable that any act which offers a suffi- 
ciently high premium to insure its enforcement will involve an expend- 
iture of from $5,000 to $20,000 per annum. In the following table are 
given six of the most noted bounty laws passed during the last decade, 
and it will be seen that while all but one remained in force less than 
two years, the expenditures varied from $50,000 to nearly $200,000. 
Such an expense as this could not long be maintained by any State, 
and, with the exception of the Illinois sparrow act and the Montana 
bounty law of 1895, all the laws have been repealed. 
Payments under six recent bounty laws. 



In force. 1 


age per 

18 months: Mar. 31, 1891-Sept. 30, 

15 months : Dec. 1, 1891-Feb. 29, 

6 months : Mar. 5, 1887-Sept. 13, 

14 months : Feb. 26, 1895-Apr. 21, 

33 months : June 23, 1885-May 13, 

16 months: Apr.,1891-Aug.31,1893. 






Protection of farmers 

1 The time represents the period during which payments were actually made ; for example, the 
California coyote law remained in force until January, 1895, and the claims amounted to nearly 
$400,000, but payments ceased on September 30, 1893, and only $187,485 was actually paid. The 
Illinois sparrow law is in force only during December, January, and February. 

' Estimated. 


The difficulties encountered in carrying out the provisions of bounty 
laws are so great as to give rise to serious objections to such legisla- 
tion. No rewards for killing wild animals are paid by the General 
Government in this country, for each State has jurisdiction over its 
noxious as well as its useful birds and mammals, and must make its 
own laws for each species. 

Bounty laws may be divided into three main groups: (1) Acts pro- 
viding for the payment of premiums from the State treasury; (2) acts 
permitting rewards to be paid from county treasuries; (3) local acts 
maintained at the expense of township treasuries. Some States have 
found county bounties most effective; others have relied entirely on 
State bounties. In -Michigan all three kinds are in operation; boun- 
ties for wolves are paid by the State, rewards for English sparrows 
from the county- treasuries, and premiums on woodchucks, hawks, 
crows, and moles by townships. Each method has its advantages, 
and each its defects. The advantages claimed for the State bounty 
are greater uniformity and efficiency; if the bounty is paid by conn- 
ties, its maintenance depends entirely on the interest manifested by 
each county, and the law is seldom enforced in all. A more serious 
defect lies in the varying rates which are sure to be paid and the 
consequent danger that scalps will be carried where the highest rate 
is paid and thus increase the expense in counties which offer high 
premiums. The objection of inequality may be urged even more 
strongly against township bounties. Trouble is sometimes caused in 
States which have large forest or Indian reservations where animals 
can increase, as the adjoining counties are almost sure to receive 
scalps taken on the reservations, and are thus compelled to bear an 
expense which does not belong to them. 

Considerable difficulty is sometimes experienced in raising sufficient 
funds for paying rewards. In some States the premiums are paid 
from the general fund without limitation; in others the bounty law 
carries a specific appropriation. The latter method has been adopted 
in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, and "Wyoming, but 
payments have not always been kept within the limit, and in case of 
an excess, a deficiency appropriation is necessary. To obviate this, a 
clause was inserted in the Texas law of 1891 providing that the act 
should become inoperative as soon as the appropriation of $50,000 
was expended. This had the desired effect of limiting the payments, 
but it practically repealed the law, as the fund became exhausted 
some months before the next meeting of the legislature. Payments 
from the general fund are open to the objection that the counties 
which contribute least toward the expenses of the State are usually 
the ones which draw most heavily for bounties. As such a burden is 
not only unequal, but the benefit which it confers is restricted to a 
comparatively small proportion of the taxpayers, some States require 


a special tax for the bounty fund. In Montana, where bounties benefit 
the cattle and sheep men almost exclusively, the law of 1895 author- 
ized a special tax of one and one-half mills per dollar on the assessed 
valuation of all horses, cattle, and sheep, in addition to the regular 
proportion of taxes set aside as a State bounty fund. The same 
principle has been adopted in Ohio and some of the counties of Vir- 
ginia where the rewards-are paid from a dog tax or some other special 

One of the most difficult matters to regulate in connection with 
bounty legislation is the rate allowed for scalps. If the reward is too 
low, there is no inducement to destroy noxious animals, and the law 
becomes practically inoperative. This was the case with the Mon- 
tana act of 1879, which apparently failed entirely, as the reports of 
the county treasurers fail to show the expenditure of a single dollar 
for bounties during the four years the law remained on the statute 
books. If, on the other hand, the rate is too high, the results are 
most disastrous. No treasury can stand the drain caused by a high 
bounty for any length of time. The coyote act of California went 
into effect March 31, 1891, but payments were stopped September 30, 
1892, after $187,485 had been expended. The prairie-dog and squirrel 
bounty law of Montana, passed in 1887, remained in force but six 
months before the funds in the treasury were exhausted. The coy- 
ote bounty of 1892 not only exhausted the regular appropriation of 
$12,000, but necessitated a deficiency appropriation of $17,343 to pay 
the claims which were presented against the State. The Colorado 
bounties of 1889 involved such a heavy outlay that other appropria- 
tions from the same fund could not be paid, and the law was finally 
declared unconstitutional by the supreme coui't of the State. 

Inequality in the rates offered in adjoining States or counties is 
almost as bad as a high premium, since scalps are likely to be taken 
from localities where the rewards are low to the nearest county which 
pays a high premium, and which is thus compelled to pay for animals 
which do not belong to it. In 1895 bounties on wolves and coyotes 
varied from $1.50 to $5 in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, 
while the rewards were $2 in North Dakota, $3 in Montana and Wyo- 
ming, and $5 in Iowa. Not only were scalps sent from one county to 
another, but rewards were claimed in Iowa for coyotes taken in South 
Dakota. While the coyote law was in force in California the pre- 
mium was $5, but in Nevada only 50 cents was allowed. Nevada 
reported the destruction of comparatively few coyotes, but thousands 
of scalps were presented for payment in California, and it was noto- 
rious that many were imported from neighboring States, and even 
from Lower California. 

Not less important than the rate is the proof (which must be sub- 
mitted before the bounty is paid) that the animal has been killed as 
claimed. Many States require the scalps, including the ears, to be 


produced as evidence, and it is important that these scalps should 
be sufficient to identify the animals without question in order to leave 
no chance for fraud. It will suffice merely to mention a few of the 
ways in which rewards have been obtained fraudulently. Skins of 
dogs or other domesticated animals have been turned in as scalps 
of wolves or coyotes, and in the case of small species, when the heads 
have been accepted in one county and the tails demanded in another, 
the bounty has been collected on the same animals twice. One of the 
counties in North Dakota, which paid considerable sums for ground 
squirrels, first required the heads as "scalps;" then the tails; a year 
or two afterwards all four feet, and finally withdrew the bounty alto- 
gether. Ignorance on the part of the bounty official sometimes results 
in the payment of premiums for species to which the law was never 
intended to apply. Dr. B. H. Warren, who has made a careful study 
of the "scalp act" of Pennsylvania, states that the heads of domes- 
ticated fowls, partridges, pheasants, cuckoos, butcher birds, and even 
night hawks were accepted in some counties as those of hawks and 

Such cases as these emphasize the importance of protecting the State 
against imposition. If the bounty is paid by county officers, it should 
be limited to species which are readily recognizable. New Hamp- 
shire offered rewards for hawks supposed to be destructive to poultry 
and other birds, and endeavored to meet the difficulty of identifica- 
tion by requiring the selectmen of the town to certify that the hawks 
were injurious before the bounties were paid, but, as the State treas- 
urer remarked in a recent report, it is not likely that boards of select- 
men were elected on account of their proficiency in ornithology! 
British Columbia, which claims almost complete immunity from fraud- 
ulent payments, restricts the premiums to wolves, coyotes, and pan- 
thers, and requires the skull of the animal to be presented at the Pro- 
vincial Museum, where it is examined by the curator before the bounty 
is paid. In some States the law demands the entire skin to be brought 
in for examination; such skins are canceled to prevent them from 
being presented a second time, and then returned to the owner. In 
practice this method is likely to increase rather than diminish fraud, 
for the reason that skins are not canceled uniformly. In Vermont 
wolf skins are marked by punching two holes a quarter of an inch in 
diameter in the ear; in "Wyoming a single hole half an inch in diam- 
eter is punched in the ear, or sometimes a small hole in the foot; in 
Utah the skins are canceled by cutting the letters B P an inch and a 
half in length in the neck. Thus, Wyoming skins, which had been 
canceled by a hole in the foot, might be presented in Utah if the feet 
were removed, and the heads could then be cut off and sent to a State 
which required only the scalps. It is true the applicant is usually 
required to state under oath where the animal was killed, and in 
Montana he must also file affidavits of two' resident taxpayers of 


the county who are acquainted with him and who believe the animal 
to have been killed as claimed. The Montana law of 1895 declares 
the alteration or counterfeiting of scalp certificates to be forgery; 
swearing falsely to affidavits, perjury, punishable by imprisonment 
from one to ten years, while patching or presenting punched skins 
is defined as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 
or imprisonment for not more than three months. With all these 
precautions against fraud no reference is made to raising animals 
for bounty, a matter which has sometimes given rise to serious trouble, 
but which is expressly mentioned in the laws of only a few States. 
Cases have been recorded in which eggs of hawks and owls were taken 
from the nest and hatched under hens in order to secure premiums 
on the young birds. It was said to be more profitable in Iowa a few 
years ago to raise coyotes for the bounty than to raise sheep, and 
Kentucky and New Mexico, recognizing the possibility of breeding 
wolves, required affidavits showing that the animals had not been 
raised for the rewards. 


Advocates of the bounty system seem to think that almost any 
species can be exterminated in a short time if the premiums are only 
high enough. Extermination, however, is not a question of months, 
but of years; and it is a mistake to suppose that it can be accom- 
plished rapidly except under extraordinary circumstances, as in the 
case of the buffalo and the fur seal. Theoretically, a bounty should 
be high enough to insure the destruction of at least a majority of the 
individuals during the first season, but it has already been shown 
that scarcely a single State has been able to maintain a high rate for 
more than a few months, and it is evident that the higher the rate the 
greater the danger of fraud. Although Virginia has encouraged the 
killing of wolves almost from the first settlement of the colony, and 
has sometimes paid as high as 125 apiece for their scalps, wolves were 
not exterminated until about the middle of this century or until the 
rewards had been in force for more than two hundred years. Nor did 
they become extinct in England until the beginning of the sixteenth 
century, although efforts toward their extermination had been begun 
in the reign of King Edgar (959-975). Prance, which has maintained 
bounties on these animals for more than a century, found it necessary 
to increase the rewards to $30 and $40 in 1882, and in twelve years 
expended no less than $115,000 for nearly 8,000 wolves. 

Attention has already been called to some of the requisites of a suc- 
cessful method of extermination, and particularly to the fact that 
rewards should be paid wherever the animal is found. The bounty 
on wolves and coyotes most nearly satisfies these conditions, as it has 
been more generally paid than that on other species. Every State 
and Territory west of the Mississippi, except Arkansas and the Indian 


Territory, has enacted laws for the destruction of these animals, but 
the results have not been altogether satisfactory, and the rates have 
frequently been changed. High premiums have been tried in Cali- 
fornia, Montana, and Texas, and found impracticable. Each of these 
States offered $5 for coyote scalps for some time, and the outlay aggre- 
gated hundreds of thousands of dollars. Iowa and Minnesota are the 
only Western States which now pay more than $3 per scalp, and in 
Iowa the rate on young wolves is $2. It has, moreover, been impossi- 
ble to secure the active cooperation of all the States, and where the 
bounty depends on the order of the board of county supervisors it 
may, as in the case of Idaho, become inoperative. 

The larger animals are gradually becoming rare, particularly in 
the East, but it can not be said that bounties have brought about the 
extermination of a single species in any State. Wolves are now 
almost extinct east of the Mississippi River except in Florida and a 
few other States, but their present rarity is due rather to the settle- 
ment of the country than to the number killed for rewards. On the 
Great Plains, where civilization has not yet encroached on their 
domain to any great extent, they have not decreased rapidly or even 
perceptibly in some places, notwithstanding the high rewards for their 
scalps. It is perhaps safe to say that coyotes have increased in Cali- 
fornia in the four years which have elapsed since bounties were 
withdrawn, and that the effects of the law of 1891 are hardly per- 

Maine has encouraged the killing of bears ever since 1830, but the 
returns of the last five years do not show any decided decrease in 
the scalps presented for bounty. New Hampshire has been paying 
for bears about as long as Maine, but in 1894 the State treasurer 
called attention to the large number reported by four or five of 
the towns, and added that should the other 234 towns "be equally 
successful in breeding wild animals for the State market, in pro- 
portion to their tax levy, it would require a State tax levy of nearly 
two million dollars to pay the bounty claims." Even New York with- 
drew the rewards on bears in 1895, not because they had become unnec- 
essary, but because the number of animals killed increased steadily 
each year. 

If this is the result when bounties on large animals are paid by 
many States, what can be expected in the case of squirrels, gophers, 
and rabbits, which are immensely more numerous than wolves or 
bears, and against which legislation has been at best extremely desul- 
tory ? Ada County, Idaho, waged war on rabbits for seventeen years, 
but after destroying more than a million abandoned the bounty 
method. Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota have tried to rid their 
lands of pocket gophers and ground squirrels, but the effect of the 
laws was far more evident on the county treasuries than on the 
12 A96 -5 


animals. The destruction of a million ground squirrels in one county 
in Washington did not exterminate the species, and Montana, in killing 
712,192 squirrels and 189,678 prairie dogs in 1887, probably made 
little impression on the total number in the State. In the early seven- 
ties California authorized the levying of special taxes at high rates 
for killing gophers and ground squirrels, and later enacted laws pro- 
viding for the division of certain counties into squirrel districts in 
charge of inspectors, and required owners to kill the squirrels on their 
land or pay for having them destroyed by the inspectors. Systematic 
efforts were made to exterminate these pests, but the attempt was 
abandoned on account of the expense. So little effect had these laws 
that to-day squirrels are practically as abundant as ever, and not long 
ago an inquiry was received from a resident in one of the counties 
which was most active in the work of extermination asking whether 
anything had ever been done to check the increase of the Californian 
ground squirrel! Nearly three million sparrows have been destroyed 
in Illinois during the last five years, and probably as many, if not more, 
have been killed in Michigan since 1887, but the laws have accom- 
plished so little that some doubt exists as to whether the birds have 
perceptibly diminished or not. Some ornithologists in these States 
assert that the decrease is quite noticeable, while others acknowledge 
that the bounties have had little if any effect. 

On the island of Bermuda, which has an area of less than 20 square 
miles, an attempt was made to exterminate the English sparrow only 
ten years after the species had been introduced ; but after two years, 
the experiment, which had cost more than $2,500, was abandoned as 
impracticable. In India, where the loss of life and of domesticated 
animals on account of the depredations of wild animals and snakes is 
enormous, bounties are paid in most of the provinces. The official 
returns for 1893 showed that 2,828 people and 85,131 head of cattle 
had been destroyed by animals, while 21,213 persons and 5,122 head 
of cattle were said to have been killed by snakes. In this year boun- 
ties to the amount of 117,448 rupees (nominally $58,724) were paid 
for the killing of 15,308 wild animals and 117,120 snakes. Although 
these expenditures have been maintained for twenty years, the num- 
ber of animals annually killed shows no perceptible decrease, and 
it is impossible to estimate what the extermination will finally cost 
the Government. But if bounties have failed to accomplish the 
actual extermination of any species, there can be no doubt that 
they have secured the destruction of large numbers of noxious ani- 
mals, and have done some good in checking the increase of such 
species as wolves and coyotes. If premiums are paid in several 
States, do not involve too great expense, and can only be main- 
tained long enough, they will do much toward the accomplishment 
of the desired end, and may be regarded as a legitimate expenditure 
of public funds. 



The unsatisfactory results attained by the direct payment of rewards 
from public funds long ago led to the attempt to gain the same end by 
other means. In colonial times the Indians were encouraged to kill 
wolves and other animals, and the planters were often required to 
destroy a certain number of blackbirds, crows, or squirrels each year 
under penalty of fine. Scalps of crows, squirrels, and even wild-cats 
were received in lieu of taxes, but as this method had some disad- 
vantages in practice the scalp certificates issued by county officials 
were accepted in payment of taxes. 

Competitive hunts and prizes offered by gun clubs sometimes cause 
the killing of a surprising number of birds and animals. In Ohio a 
few years ago nearly a thousand sparrows were killed in one hunt, 
and the Sparrow Club of Stratford-on-Avon, England, reported that 
19,000 sparrows were destroyed during the year 1887. The Virginia 
Field Sports Association distributed $100 in prizes for the killing of 
nearly 1,000 hawks in 1888; this was less than one-fifth what it would 
cost the State for bounties. Prizes offered by the Luzerne County 
Sportsmen's Club of Pennsylvania in 1895 secured the destruction of 
378 animals, 42 hawks, and 4 owls. In the rabbit drives of California, 
which are sometimes paid for from public funds, as many as 20,000 
jack rabbits have been killed in a day. The great danger in the case 
of prizes is that useful and injurious species will be killed indiscrim- 
inately, but under proper restrictions this could be avoided, and clubs 
might do much more toward the extermination of animals than is 
now accomplished by bounties. 

Another expedient which has been resorted to, particularly in 
North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Manitoba, is the free 
distribution of strychnine or other poison. The results seem to be 
quite satisfactory, and it is said that more animals are destroyed 
at much less cost than under the bounty system. Reference has 
already been made to the ground-squirrel legislation of California 
which promised so much but accomplished so little on account of the 
expense, notwithstanding the fact that everything was done to render 
the laws effective. 


(1) Bounty legislation has existed in the United States for more 
than two centuries and a half, and has been thoroughly tested in most 
of the States and Territories. 

(2) Rewards have been paid (a) on large animals, such as wolves, 
coyotes, bears, and panthers; (b) on small mammals, particularly 
gophers, ground squirrels, and rabbits; (c) on a few birds, such as 
crows, English sparrows, hawks, and owls. 

(3) This legislation has probably involved an expenditure of over 
$3,000,000 in the last quarter of a century, and the expense seems to be 


increasing instead of decreasing. Single laws have caused an outlay 
of nearly $200,000 in less than two years, and it is safe to say that 
any act which carries a sufficiently high reward to insure its operation 
will cost from $5,000 to $20,000 per annum. 

(4) Objections to the bounty system may be grouped under four 
main heads: (a) Expense, which is usually out of all proportion to the 
benefit gained, and may be greater than the county or State can 
afford; (b) impossibility of maintaining bounties in all parts of an 
animal's range for any length of time ; (c) impossibility of maintain- 
ing equal rates in all States; (d) impossibility of preventing payments 
for animals imported from other States, for counterfeit scalps, or for 
animals raised especially for the bounty. These objections have 
never been satisfactorily overcome, and most laws have failed through 
one or another of these causes. 

(5) Bounties have not resulted in the extermination of a single 
species in the United States, and have failed even in the island of 
Bermuda, which has an area of less than 20 square miles. 

(6) Rewards for wolves, coyotes, and panthers are now so generally 
paid as to check the increase of these species to some extent, but pre- 
miums on ground squirrels, gophers, and other small mammals have 
accomplished little or nothing, and bounties on birds may do great 
harm by encouraging the killing of useful species through ignorance. 

(7) Extermination of noxious animals is usually slow and can be 
accomplished more effectively and economically through the efforts 
of individual land owners than by the lavish expenditure of public 


By L. O. Howard, Ph. D., 

Entomologist, U. 8. Department of Agriculture. 


In the article on "The shade-tree insect problem in the eastern 
United States," published in the Yearbook of the Department of Agri- 
culture for 1895 (pp. 361-394), the writer urged the adoption of steam 
spraying apparatus in cities and towns where shade trees suffer espe- 
cially from the attacks of insects, and more particularly where the 
shade trees are very large. A brief description in general terms of the 
necessary points to be considered in the construction of such an appa- 
ratus was also given. As a partial result, it is to be hoped, of this recom- 
mendation, but also independently, from the obvious necessities of the 
case, a number of steam machines have been adapted or constructed 
for this purpose in northeastern cities during the season of 1896, and 
all have been operated with a considerable degree of success. 

The adoption of steam-power spraying has been a necessary and 
expected outgrowth of the remarkable extension in the use of hand 
spraying machines during the past ten years. At the time when the 
investigation of the cotton caterpillar of the South was begun, just 
before 1880, practically no spraying machines were on the market. 
There were one or two bucket pumps, which, however, were not 
especially designed for work against insects, and one or two cum- 
brous knapsack apparatuses for use against the Colorado potato beetle 
had been devised. The investigation of the cotton caterpillar resulted 
in the invention, mainly by the late Dr. W. S. Barnard, working 
under the direction of Dr. Riley, of a number of machines for field 
distribution of liquid poisons, and above all in the production of the 
"Eddy-chamber," or cyclone, system of nozzles, which has since 
become so prominent in insecticide and fungicide work. The discov- 
ery at a somewhat later date of the value of liquid applications as 
fungicides with vineyard work brought about the invention and manu- 
facture of a serviceable series of knapsack pumps, and the almost 
simultaneous discovery of the applicability of liquid poisons as a 
remedy against the codling moth and plum curculio in apple and 
peach orchards started the construction of hand spraying apparatuses 
on a larger scale and mounted upon wheels for orchard work. A still 
later outgrowth in this line of work is the adoption, although as 



yet to a slight extent, of horsepower attachments, bringing about a 
spray, through the slow progress of the horse through the orchard 


Probably the first attempt with the use of steam as a motive power 
for the orchard-spraying machine was made in California. The writer 
is informed by Mr. Alexander Craw, quarantine officer and entomolo- 
gist to the State board of horticulture of California, that in the early 
eighties Messrs. Wolfskill and Goodwin, of Los Angeles, each pur- 
chased steam boilers and pumps for spraying their orange and lemon 
groves, the work at that time being directed mainly against the white 
or fluted scale (Icerya purchasi), afterwards nearly exterminated by 
the introduction of the Australian ladybird (Veihdia wwrdinalis), 

Flu. 1.— Hand apparatus used by J. W. Wolfskill at Los Angeles, Cal. 

and against the black scale (Lecanium olecz). After thoroughly try- 
ing the machine, Mr. Wolfskill abandoned it and went back to the 
force pumps, as one man (the one that drove the horse) could pump 
for from one to four lines of hose and shut off the pressure in any 
line not at the time being used. Mr. Goodwin used his machine for 
two seasons and then abandoned it for the same reasons. Mr. Craw 
is not certain as to the exact date of the construction of these 
machines, but thinks that it was probably 1881 or 1882, since M i . 
Wolfskill proposed to name his machine "Tomocera," after the prin- 
cipal chaleidid parasite of the black scale, first described by the 
writer in 1880. The main difficulty found with the steam machines 
was in regulating the force. As long as there was an abundant dis- 
charge, the pump would work all right, but it was found to be most 
difficult to shut off or reduce the nozzles to a very fine spray. This 



perhaps could have been overcome with a "governor" or fly wheel, to 
steady the stroke, but there was, as previously stated, no saving of 
labor, since with the best hand force pumps the work of pumping was 
not very hard. 

The hand-pump spraying outfit adopted by Mr. Wolfskill after he 
abandoned his steam spraying machine was illustrated (PI. V, Report 
of the Entomologist) in the Annual Report of the Department of Agri- 
culture for 1886. We have been unable to secure an illustration of 
the abandoned machine, but reproduce (fig. 1) the figure of the hand- 
power substitute, which is interesting from several standpoints, per- 
haps particularly on account of the ingenious wheel ladders adopted 
for use on old orange trees, which are obviously impossible to climb. 
This arrangement has since come into more or less general use for 
other purposes. 

Pig. 2.— Side view of steam apparatus constructed by Stephen Hoyt's Sons, New Canaan, Conn. 

The difficulties encountered by Messrs. Wolfskill and Goodwin may 
have been anticipated by others to such a degree that other experi- 
ments in this line were not soon made, or, what is more probable, the 
use of hand apparatus was found so satisfactory that the necessity 
for the use of steam power was not apparent. At all events, no experi- 
ments in this line have come to our attention down to 1894. In this 
year Stephen Hoyt's Sons, of New Canaan, Conn., had an apparatus 
constructed for use on their own estate, where fruit and ornamental 
trees and vines and plants of a number of different varieties are 
grown. 1 Under date of August 1 these gentlemen wrote that the 

•This is the machine shown by Mr. Lodeman in his book on The Spraying of 
Plants, Macmillan & Co., 1896, p. 194, as " the first successful spraying outfit using 
steam power." 


machine "is still found to be very useful, and it is particularly liked on 
account of the ease and rapidity of operation, the pump being capable of 
throwing a good stream over the tallest trees. " The details of this appa- 
ratus were given in the Nineteenth Annual Report of the Connecticut 
Agricultural Experiment Station, 1895 (pp. 210-213). The facts con- 
cerning the machine, as communicated by Messrs. Hoyt, areas follows: 

* * * The boiler was made by Charles "W. Foster, in New Haven, and will 
generate steam sufficient to produce five or six horsepower at a pressure of 100 
pounds. The cost was $200. The pumps were made by the Marsh Steam Pump 
Company, Battle Creek, Mich. "We got two pumps, size BB, and intended to run 
them both for spraying. I had one arranged to feed the boiler and to spray also, 
but found this did not work satisfactorily, so bought another, two sizes larger 
(size D), using the smaller pump for boiler feed only. The BB size is quoted at 
$50, less 60 per cent. This is too large for a feed pump to a boiler of this capacity, 

■(lji : y 


1 JKT%a£3l^ 




i *-|% ilf;* 



.:■'■'. r"t£Lrfi 




j^^Niur ' 


W ; ;:«^^^^J 


Fig. 3. — Perspective view of steam apparatus constructed by Stephen Hoyt's Sons, New Canaan, 

Conn., in operation. 

and did we not have it, would have bought the smaller size, which is quoted at 
$30, less 50 per cent. 

Our 300-gallon tank was made by George F. Johnson, New Canaan, Conn., and 
is partitioned off to hold 75 gallons of water to feed the boiler, and 225 gallons of 
mixture for spraying. This tank was bolted and ironed all through, and cost $40. 
Our hose, from the Mineralized Rubber Company, was three-fourths inch ; but we 
advise getting one-half inch hose, as the strain is not so great, nor is it so heavy to 
handle. We used two lines of hose, each 100 feet long. The McGowan nozzle 
does very good work, and is quite economical with the solution. We also found 
the Daisy nozzle, made in New Haven, excellent for tree spraying. 

Although our boiler uses coal or wood for fuel, we bought it partly for another 
purpose, and would advise for spraying simply to use a boiler heated by oil, as 
much more convenient. For a boiler feed-pump would suggest the Marsh, size B, 
and for spraying, a duplex high-service pump, or one that would give a pressure of 
at least 150 pounds, such as are made by Worthington, Dean, Knowles, or Snow. 
The total cost of an outfit would average from $275 to $375, according to size. 

Illustrations of this machine are given in tigs. 2 and 3. 


Perhaps the next experimental steam apparatus for orchard work 
was built by W. R. Gunnis, of San Diego, Cal. This is the machine 
which was briefly described in Insect Life (Vol. VII, p. 413), under the 
caption "Spraying on a large scale." The machine was probably con- 
structed a little later than that of Messrs. Hoyt, but during the same 
year (1894). It was designed by Mr. Gunnis's son, R. H. Gunnis, and 
we were informed in August, 1896, that it was at that time the only 
practical power sprayer in operation in California, except an exact 
copy of it built by the Union Gas Engine Company, of San Francisco 
(now in use at Riverside by Mr. Felix Havens), from drawings taken 
from this machine in its unimproved state while at work in Santa 
Barbara, in 1895. Mr. Marlatt, however, visiting California in No- 
vember, found an admirable machine at work at the Las Fuentos 
ranch, Santa Barbara, under the direction of Mr. F. Kahler, copied in 

Fig. 4.— Right-hand side of steam spraying machine constructed by W. R. Gunnis, San Diego, Cal. 

the main from the Gunnis machine. We have received excellent 
photographs of this machine in operation through the kindness of Mr. 
Kahler, but unfortunately too late for reproduction. 
The details of the Gunnis machine are as follows: 
The pump for delivering spray material is of horizontal, double-cylinder, plunger 
type, capable of working against a pressure of 250 pounds to the square inch, and 
is operated by a 1-horsepower gas engine. A large tank of 100 gallons capacity 
contains spray fluid, a small square tank contains gasoline sufficient to run the 
engine one or two days, and the other tank contains water, which is circulated by 
a small pump around the cylinder of the engine", thence through a coil inside of 
the main tank, where it is cooled, then back into its own tank. 

In the rear of the pump is an air chamber and a pressure gauge, and at the 
extreme- end of the platform are connections with stopcocks for four or more lines 
of hose. Forward from the air chamber runs an overflow pipe into the supply 
tank, having in it an adjustable relief valve, which maintains a normal pressure 
when some of the spray nozzles are shut off. The overflow is delivered through 
two nozzles set at an angle, thus keeping the mixture continually agitated. 


In order to obviate frequent stoppage for the purpose of refilling the tank, the 
machine is provided with a tender — a 50-gallon tank hung between low, broad 
wheels and drawn by one horse. 

On the left side of the machine is shown a rotary pump driven by a belt from 
the engine, running over a friction clutch pulley, the discharge pipe of this pump 
being carried into the top of the main tank and the suction extending below the 
bed of the wagon. 

The spray material is mixed in the tender, which is driven alongside the machine, 
and connection made by a length of suction hose to the rotary pump ; the pump 
is thrown into gear, and in two minutes the 50 gallons of mixture is transferred 
to the main tank without interfering in any way with the work of the sprayers. 

The spray nozzles are placed on the ends of extension rods of one-eighth or one- 
fourth inch pipe covered with bamboo, each rod having a globe valve at its hose end. 

The usual crew consists of six — four sprayers, a driver, and a boy to drive the 
tender. In ordinary work two rows of trees are sprayed at a time, two men to a 
tree, but if the trees are very large eight sprayers may operate economically. 

Flo. 5.— Left-hand side of steam spraying machine constructed by W. R. Gunnis, San Diego, C'al. 

Mr. Gunnis writes that this machine has proved to be an entire 
success, both for efficiency and economy, and some very large orchards 
have been treated with it where a hand pump would have been entirely 

Both sides of the Gunnis apparatus are shown in figs. 4 and 5. 

It will be observed that according to Mr. Gunnis the machine built 
by the Union Gas Engine Company, of San Francisco, was designed 
from the unperfected Gunnis machine of 1895. The Pacific Rural 
Press, June 13, 1896, gives a figure of what is practically the same 
machine, which we have reproduced (fig. 6), with the statement that it 
is a gasoline spraying plant recently constructed by the Union Gas 
Engine Company for the Las Fuentos ranch of Santa Barbara. The 
machine is said to be designed by Arthur Bell, consulting engineer of 
the Alcatraz Asphalt Company. It is described as follows: 

The plant consists of a 1-horsepower Union gasoline engine, to which is connected 
a special double-acting pump, so arranged as to draw from the solution tank and 


force into a vertical receiver at a pressure of 350 pounds per square inch. At the 
receiver is a by-pass, so arranged that the extra solution which is not immediately- 
carried off through the spraying nozzles is returned under pressure to the solution 
tank, and keeps the same constantly agitated. The circulating water for the 
engine is carried in the lower square tank, and after passing around the cylinder 
it is returned through a coil in the solution tank to its starting point, being in this 
way used over and over again. The small oblong tank on top of the water tank 
contains the small amount of gasoline necessary to run the plant for a day. 

The whole is set on a wooden base, covered with a galvanized sheet-iron pan, 
and is of a suitable size to go on an ordinary wagon running gear. The hose con- 
nections, of which there are four, are at the rear end of the wagon, thus being in 
a convenient position for operation. 

The compound tank has a capacity of 100 gallons, the weight of the entire outfit 
being about 750 pounds, and is put upon the market, complete, for $350. The illus- 
tration represents the first one built, which is now in use and giving satisfaction. 

The Shipman Engine Manufacturing Company, of Rochester, N. Y. , 
which has for a long time been building engine devices for farmers for 
use in cutting and grinding feed, for sawing wood, for the dairy, and 

Fife. 6.— Details of steam spraying machine constructed by Union Gas Engine Company, San 
Francisco, Cal., on the lines of the Gunnis machine. 

for other purposes about the farm, built during the winter of 1895-96, 
a spraying engine which was placed with the Massachusetts Agricul- 
tural Experiment Station, at Amherst. The apparatus consisted of 
the Shipman spray pump connected with a 150-gallon tank mounted 
on springs on a low- wheeled truck. The machine was used by Prof. 
S. T. Maynard, of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Amherst, 
with paris green, bordeaux mixture, and kerosene emulsion. No 
trouble was experienced in reaching the tops of trees with the spray, 
and the apparatus was considered by Professor Maynard to be suc- 
cessful. The greatest disadvantage was found to be the loosening of 
the joints of piping, owing to the racking of the wagon. This, how- 
ever, is a matter which could be easily remedied. Professor Maynard 
found that the great advantage of the machine over the hand or geared 
pump consisted in the fact that the full power can be applied quickly 
and shut off quickly, and can be run whether the tank is moving or 
stationary. No difficulty was found in throwing two streams contin- 
uously and in covering both sides of a row of apple trees as fast as the 


team moved among them. We have no illustration of this machine. 
The engine-manufacturing company advise using an automatic oil- 
burning boiler, although the engine maybe fitted with a light improved 
coal or wood burning boiler with a spray pump and special pattern of 
steam pump, designed solely for the purpose, having all parts with 
which the liquid comes in contact made of phosphor-bronze to avoid 
corrosion. No. 1 has a capacity of 8,000 or 10,000 gallons per day of 
ten hours, and No. 2 has a capacity of 20,000 to 25,000 gallons for the 
same time. Running constantly at ordinary capacity, No. 1 will con- 
sume about 4 gallons and No. 2 about 8 gallons of oil per day. The 
price of No. 1, mounted, including a 200-gallon fluid tank, tool chest, 
and agitating device, withou t hose and nozzles, i s 1260. No. 2, mounted 
the same way, is $400. 

Fig. 7.— Steam spraying machine used by T. B. Wilson, Kail's Corners, N. Y. 

The machines just described are the only ones which have been 
constructed for orchard use of which, after considerable correspond- 
ence, we have been able to learn exact details. Others, however, 
have presumably been constructed, and, in fact, Mi'. T. B. Wilson, of 
Ontario County, N. Y. , describes, in the Rural New Yorker, July 4, 
1896, a machine (fig. 7) which he has had constructed and which he 
has operated, in the following words : 

Last winter I secured a spraying outfit, consisting of a 1-horse Acme engine 
complete, placed on a frame so that it could be fastened on a platform built for a 
common lumber wagon, with one small can for the oil and another for the water 



supply of the engine. On the back part of the wagon we have a cask that will 
hold about 150 gallons of water, and from the engine we run a brass rod through 
the bottom of the tank with two paddles fastened to the rod on the inside of the 
tank as an agitator — and it is a good one. The steam generated by the engine is 
conveyed in a pipe to a steam pump (solid brass) , and this steam pump does the 

It takes one man or boy to drive the team, two men to operate the nozzles (we 
use two nozzles of 4 vermorels each) , and one to care for the engine. My boy, 13 
years old, with the old team, went out among my neighbors. He took charge of 
the engine; the farmers furnish the other help and all the material, pay $5 per day 
for the use of the rig^ 

and are much pleased <tf 

to get it at that price. 
The common price here 
for spraying is 4 cents 
per tree for each spray- 
ing, the sprayer to fur- 
nish all materials. 
With this machine we 
can spray 500 trees, 25 
years old, in a day, do- 
ing it much better than 
by hand. The engine 
carries 100 pounds of 
steam, and the relief 
valve is set so that each 
hose gets 70 pounds 
pressure to the square 
inch. I really think 
that this' is the best 
method yet devised for 
doing thorough work. 
We have a fine spray, a 
good agitator, and a 
good 1-horse engine for 
other purposes. 

In this brief ac- 
count is foreshad- 
owed the probable 
method of the future 
use of steam spray- 
ing outfits for or- 
chard purposes. It is not likely that the proprietor even of a reason- 
ably large orchard will go to- the expense of first cost of constructing 
a steam spraying apparatus when he already has a hand apparatus 
which accomplishes the work economically and with a reasonable 
amount of expedition. In fact, one of the most successful apple 
growers in Virginia, Dr. John S. Lupton, of Winchester, Va., has told 
the writer that he would use for a steam apparatus. Dr. 
Lupton, it should be understood, owns a 40-acre orchard of fine New- 
town pippins, which he sprays two or three times every year by means 

<SVJV«- — 

Fig. 8.— Geared automatic sprayer used by J. S. Lupton, Win- 
chester, Va. 


of the machine illustrated by fig. 8. This is a simple apparatus, which 
sprays by means of an automatic gearing, the motion of the wheels of 
the tank cart imparting the impetus to the pump by means of a gear 
chain and sprocket wheel. He runs two lines of hose from his pump 
and directs them both at the same tree as the horse moves slowly 
between the rows. One spray is directed at the top of the tree and the 
other at the bottom of the same tree. In this way one side of an 
entire row is quickly sprayed, and the horse returning upon the other 
side this is also sprayed in the same manner. It would seem difficult 
to spray thoroughly in this manner, but Dr. Lupton has had the best 
results from his sprayings of any fruit grower of our acquaintance. No 
further proof of this statement is needed than the fact that he will 
this year pick 1,200 barrels of unspotted apples from his 40 acres. 
So perfect is their condition that he has been offered $5 per barrel 
for the lot. This result has been obtained in what is called an "off 
year " for apples in the State of Virginia. 

The steam apparatus in orchards, however, will be used in the man- 
ner Mr. T. B. Wilson has used his. A man with small capital and 
some mechanical skill has a chance to make money as a public sprayer 
in a fruit-growing region, and we confidently expect to see the use of 
steam apparatus developed along these lines to a striking extent. 


The other phase of the subject is the use of such apparatus in cities 
and towns for spraying the shade trees. In a large city, where fre- 
quently many thousands of trees are to be sprayed in a short time 
(the shorter the better), a single steam spraying apparatus will do the 
work of many hand machines. The writer has repeatedly urged the 
construction of such an apparatus for shade-tree work in the city of 
Washington, but has failed to command the needed interest from 
persons in authority. 

It is interesting to contrast with this experience the enlightened 
energy shown by the Forestry Club of Farmington, Conn. This soci- 
ety has constructed at its own expense an apparatus (fig. 9) which is 
described by the secretary, Mr. H. H. Mason, as follows: 

The outfit consists of a platform 14 feet long, 5 feet wide, made of 2-inch plank, 
with two 4 by 6 inch timbers, one on each side to strengthen the floor and make a 
ledge to prevent tools and such things from falling off. This platform is mounted 
on a set of wheels with rims 6 inches wide and about 24 and 28 inches in diameter, 
the wheels so arranged that the machine can be turned very short. 

The solution tank is an upright cypress tank, built of 2-inch plank, and arranged 
with iron bands that can be tightened with a wrench as occasion requires to take 
up shrinkage, the tank being 4 feet in diameter and 4 feet high, with a capacity 
of 325 gallons. 

The pump and boiler was made by the Blake Manufacturing Company of Boston, 
and consists of an upright tubular boiler 22 inches in diameter and 4 feet high. 
The pump is of the direct-acting type, with steam cylinder 4 inches and water 



cylinder 2| inches in diameter. The pump is brass lined and fitted throughout 
with brass. It is capable of delivering two streams of water at a pressure of 150 
pounds, with boiler pressure of 90 pounds. 

The machine is fitted with pressure gauge and relief valve to prevent bursting 
the hose in case the hose be suddenly shut off, the pressure gauge's principal value 
being to show at a glance if the pump is doing its full duty. 

Our hose is 2^-inch, heavy mineralized, and will stand 200 pounds pressure ; the 
couplings must be extra strong and strongly put on. 

A barrel of water for boiler feed is carried on the platform. Our experience 
points, to the desirability of having the boiler feed pump separate from the steam 
pump and worked by hand. 

A small spraying pump (so called) fastened to the side of the solution tank with 
hose connections to water barrel and boiler feed cock will prove more convenient 
and economical of time. This can be worked by the driver when necessary. 

Fig. 9.— Steam apparatus owned by the Farmington Forestry Club, Farmington, Conn. 

McGowan nozzles are used. A 35-foot extension ladder, also a 40-foot extension 
with extra tip 10 feet long, completes the outfit. 

These are carried on each side on the timbers before mentioned. The timbers 
extend 3 feet in rear of the platform, and are used to hang the coils of hose on. 

The boiler stands directly over the rear axle, and is fired from the rear end of 
the wagon. Much difficulty was experienced with the lime solidifying in the 
pump until we placed a large strainer of very fine brass- wire cloth over the suc- 
tion in the tank, the sides of the strainer being of board, with the cloth nailed 
firmly to the edges. It is very efficient and cheap, and is economical, as it saves 
any manipulation of the lime, such as straining, etc. No trouble by clogging has 
since been experienced. 

We find the stirring of the solution is best done by hand, the driver attending to 
that with a wooden paddle through a hole 14 inches square in the top of the tank. 


A poppet safety valve should be used in place of the lever valve usually sent, on 
account of the jarring, dislodging the weight on the lever and consequent strain 
on the boiler. 

Two poles, 16 feet and 24 feet, with hose attached, are used on all trees not over 
35 feet high, and on the lower branches of large trees, and by saving the climbing 
facilitate operations very much. 

As the direct outcome of the extraordinary abundance of the elm- 
leaf beetle in the Connecticut River Valley and its northward exten- 
sion up this valley during the season of 1895, steam-power spraying 
machines have been constructed by the cities of New Haven, Spring- 
held, and, we are also informed, by Ilolyoke. 

The Springfield apparatus is a compact little machine, to be drawn 
by one horse, and is illustrated by fig. 11. It was built at a local 
machine shop, and consists of a boiler, pump, and barrels mounted 

Fig. 10.— Steam spraying apparatus constructed by the city authorities of New Haven, Conn. 

upon an open low-hung wagon frame. A small 7-horsepower boiler 
connected with a Deane pump of 3 horsepower takes up the rear part 
of the wagon, and in front are the barrels for holding fluids, one for 
water and the other for solution, the latter holding 120 gallons. The 
apparatus is fitted with 200 feet of three-fourths-inch hose, with Nixon 
spraying nozzles. The machine is economical and compact. 

With the consideration of the New Haven city apparatus a new 
principle comes in. A large 4-wheel steam road engine, especially 
constructed, however, for this purpose, is coupled to an ordinary 
street-watering tank, in which the spraying mixture is kept in solu- 
tion. It makes a heavy load for two horses, but six lines of hose are 
operated at once, and a very strong stream may be thrown from each. 
The details of this apparatus may be gained from figs. 10 and 12, 



This machine has been very successful in treating large elm trees in 
the city of New Haven. In this city the spraying problem is a seri- 
ous one. No less than 14,000 elms, many of them 75 to 100 years 
old, have to be sprayed in a minimum of time. 

A steam spraying machine has been used successfully during the 
past season in the large and beautiful Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, 
N. Y. This machine was conceived by Mr. J. A. Pettigrew, superin- 
tendent of parks, and was an outgrowth of the inadequacy of hand 
pumps. It is simply a steam pump on wheels, a street-sprinkling 
tank, and a one-horse supply wagon. Both pump and carriage are 
simply adapted, being a duplex pump of a capacity of 50 gallons per 

Pig. 11.— Steam spraying machine constructed by the city authorities of Springfield, Mass. 

minute mounted on a portable engine truck, the engine being re- 
moved. Both are stock goods and obtainable at any pump-manufac- 
turing concern. The park workmen fitted up the attachment for hose 
connections. The pump truck is attached to the sprinkling wagon, 
which holds the poison, the capacity of the tank being 600 gallons. 
The tank itself is an old one, condemned by the street department of 
the city. The tank and attached truck and pump are easily handled 
by a pair of horses. The pump carries four lines of three-fourths- 
inch hose, one connected with the tank, to agitate the mixture, and 
three for spraying. The suction pipe is 3 inches in diameter. A sup- 
ply wagon with all that is necessary to carry on the work of spraying, 
such as tubs and barrels for mixing the poison, is drawn by a single 
12a96 6 


horse. Comparing the work of this machine with the old hand pumps, 
Mr. Pettigrew says that while there is probably loss in material it is 
more than compensated for by the speed in spraying. Speaking of 
this apparatus, the deputy park commissioner, Mr. Henry L. Palmer, 
said to a reporter of the New York Tribune : 

This is the only sensible way of dealing with this important matter. We have 
so many trees that it is necessary to deal with them in a wholesale way. The 
work can not half be done with hand pumps in the old manner. We have many 
trees that could not be reached in that way at all. With the steam apparatus, 
however, we are able to send a good stream to the tops of the tallest trees in the 
park, and to do the work effectually. 

Rather in the same line, but simplifying matters still more, is the 

Fig. 12.— Near view of couplings and details of steam spraying apparatus constructed by the 
city authorities of New Haven, Conn. 

plan adopted by Lieut. William Weigel, U. S. A., in charge of the 
grounds of the United States Military Academy, West Point, N. Y. 
(fig. 13). There the elm-leaf beetle has annually for many years 
past partially defoliated the elm trees, and in the writer's article on 
"The shade-toee insect problem in the eastern United States," quoted 
above, mention is made of the work of Gen. John A. Wilson, U. S. A., 
some years ago, at the time when he was Superintendent of the Mili- 
tary Academy. He used the steam fire engine of the post, knocking 
the insects from the trees by means of a strong stream of water. 
Lieutenant Weigel has used the poisoned spray, but has utilized a 
steam lire engine in just the manner suggested by the writer on page 
383 of the Yearbook for 1895, although the idea occurred to him inde- 
pendently and without suggestion. He coupled an unused steam lire 



engine to an old tank formerly used for disinfecting soldiers' clothes. 
The tank was mounted on a wagon frame. Two 200-foot lengths of 
three-fourths-inch hose were attached to the engine, and by this means 
all trees in a radius of 500 feet were reached. He used the straight 
nozzle instead of a sprayer, finding that the latter scattered the stream 
too much and did not allow the mixture to be carried far enough. 
Each tree was sprayed very carefully by men on ladders, and he found 
that about 40 gallons of mixture thoroughly sprayed a single tree. 

Pig. 13.— Near view of couplings and details of steam spraying apparatus used in Prospect 

Park, Brooklyn, H\ Y. 

About 50 trees were sprayed in a day. Four men were utilized in 
this work, viz, an engineer to run the fire engine, a teamster to drive 
the supply wagon, and two men to handle spray nozzles. The writer 
visited West Point late in July, 1896, and the condition of the trees 
at that time indicated that Lieutenant Weigel had been eminently 
successful in his treatment. 

One objection to most of the city shade-tree machines which we 


have so far described has been the fact that the engines are too large 
and noisy. As has been found to be the case in New Haven, it is 
necessary to temporarily close the street upon which they are at Avork 
in order that passing horses may not be frightened. The noise diffi- 
culty has been overcome by a very beautiful and compact little appa- 
ratus which has been especially constructed for the department of 
public parks of the city of New York, under the supervision of Dr. 
E. B. Southwick, the entomologist of the department. (This appa- 
ratus is shown by Pi. I.) Dr. Southwick had previously conducted 
extensive spraying operations by means of a hand-power pump. The 
old hand apparatus which he used prior to the present season affords 
a vivid contrast to the present machine. The motor and pump of the 
new machine weigh about 300 pounds. The fuel (gasoline) for a 

Fig. 14. — Steam spraying apparatus constructed by the Shade and Fruit Tree Protective Associa- 
tion of New Yo»k. 

day's work is carried in a gallon can. With a small alcohol torch the 
lamp is lighted, which heats the platinum cap red hot. This cap is 
hollow, and the gasoline vapor explodes when it comes in contact with 
it, and in this way drives the piston. The motor is known as the 
"Daimler," and is one which is extensively used in naphtha launches. 
Two sections of one-fourth-inch hose with three nozzles on each have 
been used this summer, but four sections with twelve nozzles may be 
used if necessary, as the pump supplies 60 pounds pressure. The 
pump used by Dr. Southwick is a 3-piston Gould pump, the small- 
est size made of the pattern, and at a pressure of 60 pounds. He 
informs the writer that if he were to buy another pump he would get 
a size larger, so as to use more of the power of the motor. As it is, 

Yearbook U. S. Dept. ot Agnculture, 1896. 

plate I. 

Fig. i.— Steam Spraying Apparatus used by the Department of Public Parks 

of New York City. 

Fig. 2.— View (from opposite side) of Steam Spraying Apparatus used by the 
Department of Public Parks of New York City, in Operation. 



his motor does not work more than half of its power. The tank shown 
in the machine illustrated holds 100 gallons. It might easily be con- 
structed to hold more, and would be so constructed except for the 
fact that in Central Park the machine has to run over the lawns, and 
hence it is desirable to have it as light as possible. Besides supply- 
ing the nozzles, however, Dr. Southwick is in the habit of cooling the 
motor with the surplus liquid. This motor has been used the entire 
summer without trouble, and Dr. Southwick states that for his work 

Pig 15.— Opposite side of steam spraying apparatus constructed by the Shade and Fruit Tree 
Protective Association of New York. 

in the large parks and running about the city he knows of no machine 
that compares with it. The motor costs $250, and the pump about 
$50. The total cost of running the machine a day amounts to but a 
few cents. It is comparatively safe, and a tyro can run it. It is 
almost noiseless, and is used with the utmost safety on the Central 
Park drives, where the slight noise made by the motor is not noticed 
by the horses. Readers of this article acquainted with the Mall in 


Central Park will appreciate the havoc which miglit be created by a 
noisy steam engine. 

"VVe have elsewhere referred to the growing idea of community spray- 
ing, or to the building of a steam spraying apparatus by an individ- 
ual who operates it at a fixed rate per day in orchard work. A similar 
development of shade and ornamental tree spraying is also gradually 
being brought about. In a paper read before the Association of 
Economic Entomologists, at Springfield, Mass., in the summer of 1895 
(see Bulletin 2, new series, Division of Entomology, pp. 40-47), the 
writer referred to the work of W. S. Bullard, of Bridgeport, Conn., 
in this direction, and anticipated an increase in spraying as a business. 
The same point was brought out in the Yearbook for 1895 (pp. 
383-384). The defect in this plan , as there pointed out, arises from the 
fact that not all property owners or residents can afford to employ a 
tree sprayer, while others are unwilling, since they deem it the busi- 
ness of the authorities or do not appreciate the value of tree shade. 
This defect, however, is anticipated only from the standpoint of 
complete protection, and there are undoubtedly many wealthy resi- 
dents in our larger cities who will gladly pay an individual or a com- 
pany to spray the trees upon their own grounds, or, in case of lack of 
enterprise on the part of city authorities, the street shade trees in 
front of their houses. Taking advantage of this condition of affairs, 
there was established in New York City during the winter of 1895-96, 
a company entitled "The Shade and Fruit Tree Protective Associa- 
tion," which has had several excellent steam spraying machines con- 
structed, and has done during the summer of 1896 a very considerable 
amount of tree spraying. The first work carried on by this eompany 
was done under contract with the Yale University authorities by 
spraying the very large and beautiful elms upon the Yale College 
campus. The writer witnessed the initial experiments in early July, 
studied the machine, and secured photographs from which the illus- 
trations of figs. 14 and 15 were reproduced. The machine used by this 
company is a most excellent one. The tank, which has a capacity of 
300 gallons, is mounted upon a strong platform 10 by 4 feet in dimen- 
sions, the wagon trucks being especially constructed for it and fitted 
with broad-tired wheels. The engine has a capacity of 4-horse-power, 
and there are four streams with a discharge pressure of 60 pounds 
each. The hose is three-fourths-inch in 200-foot lengths, and the 
nozzle rods are iron and each 10 feet long. The McGowan nozzle is 
used. A supply cart, run by a single horse, is in more or less con- 
stant use, and a complete outfit of telescope ladders accompanies the 
machine. The tallest trees on the Yale campus were expeditiously 
sprayed. The engine used was built by the Shipraan Company, and 
is of the type described elsewhere. 

It seemed to the writer that there was with this machine, as with all 
others which he has had opportunity of seeing, an unnecessary waste 

Steam Spraying Apparatus used in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, N. Y. 


of material and a disagreeable amount of dripping from trees after 
spraying. This is in every case due to the fact that the insecticide is 
not thrown as a finely divided spray, but is thrown in a coarse spray 
or a more or less solid stream, which divides upon striking the branches 
and foliage. Inasmuch as in all this large-tree work the operatives 
have to climb the trees, the use of a nozzle which will throw as finely 
divided a spray as possible seems to the writer to be desirable. A 
more thorough wetting of the leaves, particularly of the leaves of the 
elm tree, will be accomplished in this way. As is well known, if a 
large drop of water is thrown upon the under surface of an elm leaf 
the close pubescence of the surface will cause it to run off . A spi'ay 
from a cyclone nozzle, however, is so fine that a complete wetting of 
the surface is brought about by its use, and there is almost no. result- 
ant dripping and consequent loss of material. The use of a small hose 
also seems desirable. This will be perfectly practicable if a fine-spray 
nozzle is used. The gain in facility of operation with a half-inch hose 
or even one of three-eighths inch will be very great. To carry a three- 
fourths-inch hose up into a tall tree requires an exertion of much 
muscular strength. The substitution of bamboo supporting poles for 
the iron rods used with the last-named apparatus will also be desirable 
on the same grounds. 

A point which has been brought out in this large-scale spraying is 
the fear of the poison on the part of those who may be employed. 
The writer has made many inquiries regarding possible injurious 
results, but has as yet heard of only one case which seemed to indi- 
cate that the contact of the spray with the skin may be injurious. In 
this case a more or less severe eruption of the hands and neck followed 
almost immediately upon a rather thorough wetting with an ordinary 
solution of arsenate of lead (3 pounds to 100 gallons). Another man 
was just as thoroughly wet at the same time without any injurious 
results, and it seemed to the writer that the eruption in the first case, 
which was of a severely itching character and which recurred with 
every hot spell of weather for more than a year, must have been due 
to some other cause. It will be noticed in the picture of the Prospect 
Park apparatus (PL II) that the men are clothed in uniform caps 
and suits and wear rubber gloves. Mr. Pettigrew, who has charge of 
the operations, thinks the gloves entirely unnecessary, but the men 
insist upon using them. 


To sum up, and in conclusion : Aside from the first cost of the appa- 
ratus, spraying by steam power is economical on a large scale. Some 
extensive orchardists may find it worth while to construct such an 
apparatus, since the difficulties experienced by Messrs. Wolfskill and 
Goodwin are overcome in the more recently constructed machines. 

In fruit-growing communities in which man y hand sprayers are not 


already in use, the construction of a steam apparatus will probably 
become a paying investment for an enterprising individual. The 
plan of charging a per diem rate for the use of the machine, the own- 
ers of the orchards to furnish spray materials and labor, aside from 
the running of the engine, seems to us the best plan to adopt, the 
plan of guarantying protection against insect pests having obvious 

In any city or town having abundant shade trees it will unques- 
tionably, in the writer's estimation, pay the city authorities to place 
at the disposal of the street commissioner or superintendent of parks 
sufficient funds for the construction of such an apparatus, for instance, 
as that used by the department of public parks in New York City. 
An expenditure in this direction will be more economical, it would 
seem, in the long run, than the adoption of what may be termed the 
"makeshifts" used in New Haven, the Brooklyn parks, and at West 
Point. The extreme economy in the operation of such an apparatus 
has already been shown, and the point of its noiseless operation is a 
very important one. 

It will be gathered from what has been said in this article that there 
is a growing appreciation of the value of shade trees and a growing 
interest in their preservation. From both aesthetic and utilitarian 
points of view they are valuable city property, and the increasing 
public interest will undoubtedly result in the ultimate adoption of 
the recommendations which, the writer made in the Yearbook for 


By Herbert J. Webber, 
Assistant, Division of Vegetable Physiology and Pathology, U. S. Department of 



In traveling from country to country or from section to section 
even a casual observer will notice the different characteristic fea- 
tures presented by plants. The desert traveler notes the prevalence 
of succulent, fleshy plants, and dwarfed, spiny shrubs; the alpine 
traveler observes the dwarfed habit, the showy flowers, and the 
prevalence of woolly, or hairy plants. Desert, prairie, mountain, and 
alpine regions, forests, lakes, and marshes, all have their general 
characteristics, and when these salient features of plants in similar 
regions are found to be the same the world over, one can not but 
infer that it is probable that similar physical conditions produce 
similar results. Indeed, it is a well-recognized fact that different 
soils, climates, altitudes, and locations have an effect on the plant 
and lead to certain characteristic variations. Darwin repeatedly says 
that " variations of all kinds and degrees are directly or indirectly 
caused by the conditions of life to which each being, and more 
especially its ancestors, have been exposed." 

Plants growing in the same region, but of widely different affini- 
ties, are frequently found to present similar characteristics of general 
growth, and this similarity may be carried down to the most minute 
details of structure. A large portion of such structures are of direct 
value to the plant in resisting the deteriorating effects of bad climate 
and in better adapting it to the conditions of life which it must 

While plants in the ordinary sense of the term are motionless, we 
know that they are rapidly spread from region to region, frequently 
to long distances, by the seeds being carried through the agency of 
wind, water, or animals. When a seed is lodged and germinates in 
a region widely separated from that in which the parent developed, 
whether it will manage to thrive will depend upon the physical con- 
ditions of the place in which it is lodged, and the inherent variability, 
so to speak, of the plant. If the seed of a plant which normally 
grows on a moist, rich soil should be lodged in a sandy desert, it may 



grow and reach maturity if it is capable of varying its normal struc- 
ture sufficiently to meet the necessities of desert life. Certain pro- 
tective adaptations are necessary in desert plants, and introduced 
plants must produce these features to a greater or less extent if they 
are to fit themselves for withstanding the severe heat and drought of 
desert climates. It has been found by repeated observations, and 
has been proved beyond doubt by many experiments, that plants pos- 
sess in a marked degree the faculty of varying to adapt themselves 
to such adverse conditions. 

Cultivated plants are subjected largely to the same condition, and 
will vary in a similar manner. The cultivator, however, attempts to 
ameliorate the harsh features of the natural environment, for if the 
soil is sterile it is manured, and if the rainfall is scanty the deficiency 
is supplied by irrigation, or the soil is cultivated to conserve the avail- 
able supply of moisture. Many climatic and soil conditions, however, 
can not be overcome by the cultivator, and therefore the varieties he 
selects must either be adapted to his region or else be capable of suffi- 
ciently varying to adapt themselves to the new conditions, otherwise 
the planting will not be successful. 

The general variability of plants to meet the requirements of differ- 
ent regions is well recognized, but the fact that the individuals of the 
same species or variety, growing side by side in the same locality, 
differ from each other is not so generally understood, although this is 
as true as that different varieties and different species ai - e unlike in 
their general characters. If a row of nursery trees of the same variety 
of apple or orange is carefully examined, one tree will be found to 
branch low, requiring pruning to shape it correctly; another will run 
up tall and unbranched, and will require topping; one will branch 
here and another there, and one will have small leaves and another 
large ones. While in general the individuals are alike, yet a compar- 
ison of any two trees will show many points of difference. Every indi- 
vidual plant has a distinct facial expression, so to speak, by which it 
may be recognized, just as certain characteristic differences in the 
individuals of a herd enable the stock raiser to distinguish one from 
another. The differences are not always describable, but nevertheless 
they exist. It is this faculty of the individual to vary that enables 
plants to fit into the numerous chinks in which they are compelled 
to grow. 

It is not the intention to discuss here the causes and reasons for all 
variations which occur in plants. There are many variations appar- 
ently without any direct inciting cause, or, as Professor Bailey ex- 
presses it, "some variation is simply fortuitous — an inevitable result 
of the inherent plasticity of organisms." Plants are not, as is some- 
times supposed, of fixed habit, that is, unvarying, from generation to 
generation, but are essentially plastic and variable. Fixed types 
have not now the significance they had a few years ago. Fortuitous 


variation would appear to be more common in plants which have been 
long under cultivation than in those still in a state of nature. These 
variations may be largely the indirect results of changed conditions, 
but in cultivated plants conditions have been so frequently changed 
that it is impossible to refer the variations to any immediate eause. 
Many are probably the outcome of the cumulative results of numer- 
ous changes of external conditions, but this we can only infer to be 
the case. 

Sex is also an important factor in producing variation, and must be 
considered in order to reach an understanding of the great variability 
which exists among plants. The crossing and commingling of the 
characters of unlike individuals result in endless combinations. The 
importance of intelligent crossing in improving the varieties of culti- 
vated plants can not be overestimated, but the variations produced 
in this way do not concern us here. We are at present interested 
simply in those modifications which are produced by change of envi- 
ronment, and a consideration of how desirable changes of this nature 
can be induced by the intelligent cultivator. 


The principal factors of environment which are potent in inducing 
marked variations in plants are food supply, water, light, tempera- 
ture, altitude, growth in maritime or saline regions, and change of 
climate. Several of these factors frequently aet together in bringing 
about certain variations. 


This is probably the most important factor in causing variability, 
both in wild and cultivated plants. Darwin says, " Of all the causes 
which induce variabibty, excess of food, whether or not changed in 
nature, is probably the most powerful." Thomas Andrew Knight, 
however, was probably the first to clearly enunciate this law, which 
is now generally understood. The great sensitiveness of plants to 
food supply has led to many of our common agricultural practices. 
It is for this reason that we isolate our plants, and cultivate, plow, 
and manure the soiL When seed raisers desire to keep a true stock 
of any one kind of seed, they grow it on poor land without manure. 

The first and most common variation resulting from excessive food 
supply is a general increase in size, which at first is relatively the 
same in all parts of the plant, the leaves, stems, roots, and fruits 
increasing in practically the same ratio. Besides this increase in 
size, which is of great value from a commercial standpoint, a greater 
tendency to vary is also induced. If the excessive nutrition is con- 
tinued during several generations, different parts of the plant will 
sooner or later be found to vary in other directions. The seeds, 
fruits, or flowers for which the plant is cultivated will, in certain 


individuals, increase in size slightly more than the relative proportion 
as compared with the other members of the plant, and it is by care- 
fully watching for these slight variations and propagating from them 
and again selecting from their progeny that many of the valuable 
varieties of our cultivated plants have been developed. Experience 
teaches that when once variation of this nature has set in, other vari- 
ations in shape, texture, color, flavor, etc. , which it is desirable should 
appear in cultivated varieties, may reasonably be expected. 

Lack of food results in a reduced size of all organs, and may greatly 
modify the plant. Plants growing for any length of time in soils de- 
ficient in food are greatly reduced in general vitality and the weak- 
ened constitution is apparently transmitted to the offspring. Weak 
and poorly fed individuals produce small seed, with little stored nour- 
ishment, and these in turn necessarily produce seedlings which are 
small, stunted, and poorly fitted for the battle of life. Roujon, by 
selecting and planting only the smallest seeds from the least-developed 
specimens of sunflower, corn, and other plants, obtained in two years 
very small plants. The corn was reduced in size to about 8 inches 
high. As the height diminished the number of seeds decreased, and 
the final result was absolute sterility. 

Mr. Henslow found that seedlings of large seeds, owing to their 
greater vigor, crowd out the seedlings of small seeds. A continual 
selection of the small seeds for several generations, he says, will cause 
the plants to die out altogether by failing to produce seed, or else a 
tiny race of beings will for a time be maintained. These vegetable 
runts, the result of insufficient nutrition and insufficient light, are 
of common occurrence in nature. Mr. B. T. Galloway, by growing 
selected lots of large and small radish seed, found that "the large 
seeds germinated more quickly and with more certainty, and produced 
marketable plants sooner and more uniformly than the small seeds." 
The latter, however, "gave proportionally larger plants." In this 
case, which at first thought seems confusing, we see, as Mr. Galloway 
suggests, the effect of long-continued, natural, methodical selection. 
The radish is cultivated for the root, and selection has thus been con- 
tinually directed to increase the size of this part without attention to 
the seed. If more nutrition is utilized in root development with plants 
of equal vigor, less would probably remain for seed development, 
resulting naturally in small seed. Thus, long-continued selection, 
aiming only to increase the size of the root, which is done with some 
detriment to the seed, might be expected to ultimately lead to an 
inherited tendency of the small seeds to develop large plants, and 
vice versa. 

Cuttings, offsets, and any part of the plant used in propagation are 
subject to the same modifications as plants produced from the seed, 
and are individually affected by external conditions. If they are 
weakened and stunted from lack of nutrition, their chance of success 


is greatly reduced, as they are then more liable to be seriously affected 
by adverse conditions and to become a prey to various diseases. If 
too greatly reduced in size and vigor, no amount of care and attention 
can lead to success. Abundant inherent vitality is the basis of suc- 
cess in the cutting or offset just as it is in the seed. In the Year- 
book for 1895 (p. 254) Mr. Galloway emphasizes the difference which 
external conditions produce in violet cuttings and the necessity of 
selecting vigorous cuttings. If grown too near salt water or on too 
dry soil, the pineapple slip may be so stunted that the best care and 
attention will fail to revive it, although it may continue to grow slowly 
and ultimately form a small fruit. Strawberry growers find it desir- 
able to exercise considerable care in selecting vigorous plants in order 
to keep up the vitality of their stock. If the new plants are taken 
from beds which have been weakened by attacks of leaf blight or leaf 
spot disease (Sphazrella J Vagaries), they almost invariably suffer 
severely from attacks of the same disease and are further reduced in 

The advantage arising from cultivators in different sections ex- 
changing seeds, bulbs, and cuttings, which has for years been a 
common practice in many countries, is evidently due to the slight 
benefits derived by the plants from change of soil. Darwin informs 
us that " the belief that plants are thus benefited * * * has been 
firmly maintained from the time of Columella, who wrote shortly after 
the Christian era, to the present day." 

Bailey considers that "much of the rapid improvement in fruits and 
vegetables in recent years is due to the practice of buying plants and 
seeds so largely of dealers, by means of which the stock is changed." 
However, if the food elements were present in every soil in the same 
Quantities, it is not probable that any benefit would result from this 
practice. There is some evidence to show that where artificial manur- 
ing is practiced there is apparently no necessity for a change of seed, 
as no noticeable benefit is derived therefrom. This practice in itself, 
however, is a yearly change in the nutrition, as the amount, kind, and 
quantity of the manure used commonly differ each year. Plants in 
nature secure, to some extent, the benefit derived from a change of 
seed by the various devices for accomplishing their dissemination. 
Indeed, it may be that these numerous devices have been developed 
partially through the benefits derived by a change of soil in keeping 
up the vitality of the species, instead of being, as is commonly sup- 
posed, an attempt on the part of the plant to simply disseminate the 
seeds that they may have room to develop. 

It is probable that the physical character of the soil affects plants 
and induces certain variations entirely apart from the effects due 
to the food or water content. Carriere found that by cultivating 
the wild radish, or jointed charlock (Raphanus raphanistrum), which 
has a slightly fleshy root, in rich soil he could produce the common 


cultivated radish. He further found that the form of the root pro- 
duced depends upon the character of the soil, the round form resulting 
from growing in heavy, close soil, and the long-rooted form from 
growing in loose, light soil. Pliny is said to have recorded the same 
effect as known and utilized in Greece in his time. These forms, as a 
result of continuous selection, are now hereditary by seed. 

The difference in fertility of soils leads to much variation in wild 
plants, and is unquestionably a common cause of differentiation into 
varieties and species in nature. The juniper, or red cedar (Juniperus 
virginiana), which is a eommon forest tree throughout most portions 
of the United States, has so adapted itself to varying conditions that, 
as Professor Sargent says, it seems equally "at home on the dry, 
gravelly hills of New Brunswick and New England; * * * in the 
fertile valleys of Pennsylvania; on the limestone hills of eastern Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee, where it forma, with stunted and shrubby 
growth, great forests or 'cedar brakes;' in the swamps of the Florida 
peninsula, and on the rich bottom lands of the Red River." If the 
soil is rich and moist, and the trees are not crowded by others com- 
peting for the light, the juniper forms a beautiful pyramidal top, of 
symmetrical outline (fig. 16). This is the common form in the fertile 
valleys of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. On 
dry, rocky hills and on barren, sandy soils, where there is a defici- 
ency of water and nutrition, the juniper may grow in equal abund- 
ance and seems to be as thoroughly in harmony with the conditions, 
but in such places it forms a low, spreading, shrubby tree, of entirely 
different habit (fig. 17). 


The effect of the quantity of water in the soil or of growing in a 
water medium is very marked on most plants, but has not been of 
great importance in inducing variations in cultivated plants. Serious 
lack of water (a condition which is found in deserts and sandy regions) 
has given rise to various devices by plants to prevent loss of water by 
evaporation from the leaves, water storage reservoirs in the tissue, 
specialized glands to absorb dew, etc Desert trees and shrubs are 
commonly stunted, gnarly-stemmed plants, with large root systems. 
The fact that these characters almost invariably disappear (frequently 
in the first generation) when the plants are grown where there is an 
abundance of water and food, shows that they were assumed because 
of a lack of these materials. 

The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) furnishes an interesting 
illustration of the effect of excess of water. The cypress, as is well 
known, grows usually at the present time in swamps and very wet 
places. Geological records, however, show that centuries ago, pre- 
vious to the Glacial epoch, the cypress tree grew in the present 
Arctic region, associated with oaks, maples, etc. As it was forced 


southward by the gradxial ehange in climate, competition with other 
trees evidently resulted in its present habit of growing only in 
swamps. Plants growing on dry land secure the necessary oxygen 
needed in root growth from the air, which is always present in the 
soil. Plants growing in the water or on very wet soil, however, 
frequently find it difficult to secure sufficient oxygen, and this has 
led to the development of devices to facilitate the aeration of the 
tissue. Cypress trees growing in water form numerous protuber- 
ances on the roots known as "cypress knees," which extend above 
the water into the air (fig. 18). By growing numerous seedlings 
of the cypress under varying conditions, Dr. Wilson has shown that 
these roots are invariably formed by plants growing in water, and are 
never formed when the plants are grown on fairly dry soil which con- 
tains sufficient air. He concludes, therefore, that these peculiar organs 
enable the roots of the tree to secure the necessary oxygen, and are 
developed as a direct result of the habit assumed by the eypress of 
growing in swamps. It is an interesting fact that this habit of forming 
knees, whieh was acquired eenturies ago, has not become hereditary, 
being totally lost the first generation if the tree is grown on dry soil. 
In swamps and on lake margins, whieh places are nowits natural home, 
the bald eypress forms a ragged, spreading growth, with large limbs 
and sparse foliage, and is very different from the eonimon type of 
closely related pine trees. This also is the result of a lack of oxygen 
and food, as before stated (fig. 18), When the tree is grown on dry 
soil, as it frequently is in parks, where it secures abundant air and 
nutrition, it reverts to the normal type, forming a tall, symmetrical, 
columnar top (fig. 19). In this case no knees are developed. The 
difference in the form of the top developed in the swamp and that 
developed on uplands or in parks is evidently due to the difference 
in food supply, as in the case of the juniper. 

Many plants grown in water or on wet soils have developed devices 
similar to cypress knees in order to secure aeration. The black man- 
grove (Avieemtia nitida) and swamp mangrove (Lagtmcidaria race- 
mosa), which grow abundantly in tidal marshes in south Florida, 
develop numerous specialized roots, which, instead of growing down- 
ward in the normal way, grow upward to such a height that they are 
exposed to the air a large part of the time, being covered with water 
only at high tide (fig. 20). The height of these roots above the soil 
varies from 2 to 18 inehes, according to the location, and they are 
frequently very numerous where the trees are crowded together in 
salt marshes. In a marsh on Biscayne Key, Florida, where the swamp 
mangrove forms almost the only vegetation, the writer counted 
eighty-three of these roots in a square foot. Their average height 
in this ease was about 5 inches. In some places these trees may be 
observed growing on fairly high and dry soil, in which case the 
aerating roots do not develop. 


The effect of abundant water and nutrition on the development of 
spines in certain plants is interesting and suggestive. Spininess, as 
already mentioned, is a common characteristic of plants which nat- 
urally grow in dry, barren regions. Lotheler found that by growing 
barberry (Barberis vulgaris) in a moist atmosphere it bore no spines- 
cent leaves, while in an arid atmosphere it bore only spines. Similar 
results have been obtained by a number of experimenters. Many 
plants which are normally thorny, such as roses, plums, oranges, etc., 
are known to frequently lose their spines as a result of cultivation 
and selection. 


The effect of the light supply in determining the form of plants is 
well recognized. If a grass seed germinates under a tub, the little 
plant does not spread out at random in its growth. If the edge 
of the tub is raised to admit a ray of light, instead of growing up- 
right, as it naturally would, the shoot bends toward the ray of light 
and grows by the shortest path to the opening. After passing into 
the full light it develops its normal form. The form and direction 
of growth of every branch is determined largely by the accessibility 
of light. The form and structure of every leaf also are just as largely 
dependent upon the light supply. Innumerable differences in the 
shapes of individuals of the same species are caused by the struggle 
to obtain light. Branches develop in positions where their leaves 
can be unfolded to the light with the least obstruction. The natural 
round and full symmetry of the tree grown in an open place is due 
to the unobstructed action of the light on branch development. Trees 
have developed their habit of lofty growth by a continuous struggle 
to secure light. The same inciting cause has led to the development 
of the habit of twining in certain plants. Other plants have so mod- 
ified their structure that they are able to secure sufficient light in the 
shade of the forest. Sleep movements of plants are other well-known 
reactions of light. In cultivation, the necessity of light is well rec- 
ognized, and our plans for planting fields and gardens are made with 
reference to the plants used in order to secure the necessary light 
and nutrition for the best development of each individual. 


Heat increases transpiration, or the loss of water, by evaporation 
from the leaves, and the modifications induced by this factor of envi- 
ronment are largely to avoid excessive evaporation, as in the case 
of desert plants, mentioned elsewhere. Tropical plants frequently 
develop their leaves naturally in a nearly vertical position, so that 
one edge or the point of the leaf is turned toward the sun. Thus, at 
noon, when the heat is greatest, the leaf receives the glancing rays 
of the sun and distributes them over its entire surface instead of their 



striking only a small part, as would lie the ease were the surface of 
the leaf in a horizontal position. 

Unless too intense, heat hastens growth, while cold either retards 
or entirely checks it. When grown in trop- 
ical regions, many of the common vegetables 
of temperate regions either fail to develop or 
else become unfruitful because of the excessive 
heat. "To make European vegetables under 
the hot climate of India yield seed," says Ingle- 
dew, "it is necessary to check their growth, 
and when one-third grown they are taken up 
and their stems and taproot are cut or muti- 

Very severe cold also causes stunted indi- 
viduals. This effect is seen in alpine plants, 
one of the principal characters of which is a 
dwarfing in general size, or ''nanism." The 
great aridity and intense light, which are also 
characteristic features of alpine regions, have 
led to modifications in the general structure of 
alpine plants similar to the modifications found 
in plants growing in desert regions. 

For several years Dr. Gaston Bonnier has 
grown many plants both on plains and in 

alpine regions, and has proved that in all cases plants growing on 
the plains if transported to an alpine region acquire a number of 

definite characteristic 
modifications w Inch 
adapt them to alpine 
life. The roots become 
much larger relatively 
in comparison with the 
top; the stem becomes 
shorter and more hairy, 
with fewer and shorter 
internodes; the leaves 
become smaller, more 
compact, and more 
hairy, with thicker epi- 
dermis and of darker 
color, and the flowers 
become relati vely la rger 
and of a brighter color. The common dandelion (Tom, man it offiri- 
mile), which grows spontaneously in all latitudes up to the last limits 
endured by flowering plants, illustrates in an interesting manner the 
12 AliO 7 

i<;. ltJ — Jiini]>er, or red 
cedar, pyramidal form 
i Potoma'- Valley, Wa«.biug- 
ton, D. <\ -. 

Fmj. 17. —Juniper, or red eedar, barren soil form iea*t 


variations produced by growth in an alpine climate. An examina- 
tion of fig. 21 will show the reduction in size of a plant, leaves more 

nearly perfect, comparatively 
larger size of root, etc. 


Plants grown near the sea, 
where they get the effect of 
the salt air and salt water in 
the soil, vary uniformly in cer- 
tain ways. The effect of the 
salt in the soil is to increase 
the density of the soil water 
and make it more difficult for 
the plant to secure the neces- 
sary moisture. The plant 
reacts by developing devices 
to store up water and to 
retard evaporation. Lesage 
found that plants growing by 
the sea 

Fig. 18. 

-Bald cypress, swamp form, with aerating 
roots, or knees. 

develop much thicker leaves — a device for water 

storage. The leaves of sea kale (Cakile mari- 

tima) grown by the sea were four or five times 

as thick as those of plants grown inland. The 

beet (Beta vulgaris) had the leaves similarly 

thickened in the proportion of eight to three. 

The common gar- 
den pea (Pisum 
sativum) watered 
with salt water 
produced much 
thicker leaves than 
usual. The sea 
grape ( Coccoloba 
uvifera), which is 
a common plant in 
south Florida and 
tropical countries, 
will serve as an 

illustration to show the extent of variation 
produced by the sea and also by cultiva- 
tion. This plant grows very abundantly 
on the sand dunes immediately bordering 

the coast, where it is exposed to the salt spray which is carried by 

the wind from the breakers. The sands of the dunes are very dry and 

Pig. 19.— Bald cypress, pyram- 
idal cultivated form. 

Fig. 20.— Aerating roots of swamp 
mangrove (Laguncularia race- 
mosa)— one-half natural size. 


sterile and somewhat shifting in nature. Under these conditions 
the sea grape forms a stunted shrub from 2 to 3 feet high, and com- 
posed largely of unbranched stems (fig. 22). The branching top of 
the tree in this case, however, is largely developed below the sand, 
the groups of upright stems being connected by underground stems. 
Under these conditions the sea grape is remarkably fertile, almost 
every stem forming a cluster of fruit. Its beautiful foliage has led 
to its being cultivated to some extent as a lawn plant, and when 
grown in fairly rich, moist soil it forms a beautiful, upright tree, with 

Pig. 21.— Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): a, common form, grown in plains region at 
low altitude; b, alpine form. Both a and 6 are reduced in the same scale. (Adopted from 

dense foliage (fig. 23), entirely different from the maritime form. 
Under cultivation the sea grape is as yet generally unfruitful, but it 
will probably become more prolific if its cultivation is continued 
until it becomes more thoroughly domesticated. 


Change of climate, which may involve a change of some or all the 
principal factors of environment discussed above, has led to many 
interesting variations in our cultivated plants. A remarkable varia- 
tion in American corn when grown in Europe is given by Metzger. 
Seeds of a tall variety, obtained from the warmer parts of America, 


"during the first year pro-Muced plants 12 feet high, which perfected 
a few seeds. The lower seeds in the ear kept true to the parent form, 
but the upper seeds became slightly changed. In the second genera- 
tion the plants were from 7 to 10 feet in height and ripened their seed 
better. The depression on the outside of the seed had almost disap- 

FiG. 22.— Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), maritime sand-dune form (Palmbeach, Fla.). 

peared, however, and its original white color had become duskier. 
Some of the seeds had even become yellow, and in their now rounded 
form they approached common European maize. In the third genera- 
tion nearly all resemblance to the original and very distinct American 

parent form was lost. 
In the sixth genera- 
tion the maize per- 
fectly resembled a 
European variety." 

Sterility is fre- 
quently the result of 
changed conditions. 
Alpine plants, though 
naturally very fruit- 
ful, usually become 
sterile when culti- 
vated in gard ens, as do 
also many bog plants. 
Excessive manuring 
frequently results in 
sterility by inducing 
excessive vegetative 
growth, but this is a wholly different matter, for the plants referred 
to do not flower. Sterility, which so commonly results from introduc- 
ing plants into cultivation, is from some effect of domestication other 
than running to leaves from excessive food, as they may flower abun- 
dantly, but not set fruit. Continued cultivation, however, in most 

Fig. 23.— Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), cultivated. 



plants results finally in an increased fruitf ulness over what was pro- 
duced in a state of nature, and this, as is plainly seen, is the keynote 
to cultivation. Bailey gives an interesting case of a Paraguay Phy- 
salis, or husk tomato, which he grew in New York from seeds sent from 
Paraguay. "I grew it both in the house and out of doors, and for 
two generations was unable to make it set fruit, even though the 
flowers were hand-pollinated; yet the plants were healthy and grew 
vigorously. The third generation grown out of doors set fruit freely." 
In some cases, however, even long-continued cultivation has not 
resulted in the plant regaining its equilibrium sufficiently to become 
perfectly fertile. The lilac and geranium maybe cited as plants that 
have been long under cultivation, and while retaining all the essential 
organs of the flowers in apparently perfect condition, they seldom 
form seeds. 

Again, sterility in some cases is a result of long-continued and 
excessive cultivation. Almost all fruits which have been long under 
cultivation and have been largely propagated by cuttings, suckers, 
budding, grafting, etc. , produce seedless varieties, as in the case of the 
orange, pineapple, banana, apple, etc. Long-continued propagation 
and selection of plants for their fruit seem to result in a tendency to 
fruit production entirely independent of seed production, so that we 
now have many varieties of cultivated plants which develop appar- 
ently normal fruits without pollination, and consequently do not 
form seeds. 


The above cases will show to some extent the forms of variations 
which are liable to occur from changed conditions as they occur in 
nature or under cultivation. To successfully utilize this faculty 
which plants have of varying their structure to suit conditions or as a 
result of conditions, we must endeavor to learn how to induce the 
variations desired and then improve and fix them by intelligent selec- 
tion. It is the universal belief among horticulturists that the most 
important step toward improving wild plants is to first "break the 
type," that is, to induce the species to vary in any direction what- 
ever. When once variation is started, a slight change in the desired 
direction may confidently be expected sooner or later if the condi- 
tions favoring such variation are given. While theoretically there 
would seem to be no limit to the variation which might be expected 
in any direction or of any part desired, yet there is a practical limit. 
It is not desirable to attempt to develop a plant with fleshy, edible 
roots, like the radish or turnip, from a plant having fine, fibrous roots. 
For development, plants should be selected which in nature have 
shown a marked tendency to develop in the desired direction. " Na- 
ture gives the hint. Let men follow it out rather than attempt to 
create new types of characters." Should it be desired to develop a 


fleshy-rooted plant, there should be selected for the experiment a wild 
plant having somewhat fleshy roots. If an improved fruit is desired, 
the selection should be made from the numerous wild fruits which are 
already edible. 

As before pointed out, plants in nature vary greatly, but under 
uniform conditions are very stable. To induce variation, a change 
of conditions is of prime importance. Excess of food, as shown, 
is probably the most potent factor in inducing variability. This is 
secured by isolating the plants, cultivating, manuring, etc. Pruning 
is simply carrying the idea a step farther, as removing one branch 
leaves a larger supply of nourishment for those remaining, or remov- 
ing a portion of the fruit or flowers leaves a greater food supply for 
the development of the others and results in a larger growth. The 
first variation induced by excessive food supply is usually increased 
size and vigor — an initial variation of value, as it is at first of prime 
importance to secure larger fruits, seeds, or roots, after which attention 
can be given to flavor, size, shape, texture, etc. Growth in rich, moist 
soil tends to increase the size and produce a tender, succulent growth; 
to delay maturity and thus endanger the plant in Northern climates by 
its greater sensitiveness to cold ; to lessen the saccharine and pungent 
qualities, etc. If, on the other hand, more dwarfed plants are desired, 
they may be induced by scanty food and water supply, or by trans- 
ferring the plants to alpine or desert places. Frequent transplanting 
and sowing seeds late in the season may also be of benefit in check- 
ing growth and inducing a dwarfed habit. It is well known that 
growing plants in small pots and crowding the roots, only occasionally 
repotting to give them more room as the plant develops, retards the 
growth and usually results in dwarfed plants. An increase in fruit- 
fulness is often caused by removal to a higher latitude or altitude. 
The same result may in some cases be secured by decreasing the food 
supply and thus checking the tendency to excessive vegetative growth. 
More vivid coloration of fruits, flowers, or leaves may be induced by 
transferring the plants northward or to higher altitTides ; modifications 
in flavor may be produced by change of climate and of food and soil 
conditions, and greater succulency can be obtained by transferring 
to saline regions or growing on soil watered regularly with salt water. 
If seeds of hardy annual plants are sown late in the fall, so that they 
can not mature their seeds, a tendency may be produced to store up 
the reserve nourishment in the root, which by selection may establish 
a biennial habit. Vilmorin converted the carrot, which is normally 
an annual plant, into a hereditary biennial by sowing the seed late in 
the season till the character of flowering the second season became 

In attempting to develop seedless fruits, so commonly the result of 
long-continued cultivation, the endeavor must be, as stated by Dr. 
Lewis Sturtevant, who has studied and written extensively on this 


subject, to give the most intensive culture possible. Excessive 
manuring and varying the ingredients; cultivating thoroughly; in- 
creasing the size of the fruit by pruning; continued propagation by 
cuttings, budding, grafting, etc.; changing the climatic conditions; 
crossing, and hybridizing, indeed almost all the practices of intensive 
modern horticulture, increase the tendency to seedlessness. 

The production of the initial variation is quite uncertain. All 
that man can do is to cultivate the plants continuously under the 
conditions most favorable to the production of the variation desired, 
and patiently and carefully watch for signs of variation in the de- 
sired direction. In some cases the variation may very quickly follow 
the change of conditions, while in others the type is very persistent 
and difficult to break. In all cases, however, patience and persist- 
ence will be sure to ultimately meet with success, for no instance is 
known of a plant being long under cultivation and not furnishing 
several varieties. In fact, plants which have been long and exten- 
sively cultivated, especially under conditions of sharp competition in 
trade, have almost invariably yielded numerous varieties, as in the 
case of the apple, wheat, etc. 


When variation in the direction desired has been secured, it then 
remains for the cultivator to improve it into the desired form by 
careful and methodical selection. As Darwin expresses it, in the 
formation of varieties of cultivated plants "the key is man's power of 
accumulative selection. Nature gives variations; man adds them up 
in certain directions Useful to him." Seeds from the individual show- 
ing the desired variation are sown under the same conditions which 
resulted in producing the initial variation. The resulting seedlings 
are in turn very carefully inspected and seeds taken from the one 
which shows the greatest increased variation in the desired direction. 
It is by this methodical selection generation after generation that the 
final triumph is attained. 

It is necessary to have well in mind the ideal variety which it is 
desired to produce, so that selections may be made with a well-defined 
point in view. All features can not be improved at once. It is well 
to attempt only one improvement at a time. If attempts are made to 
simultaneously reduce the number of seeds and to change the shape 
of the fruit by selection, failure in- both directions or but slight suc- 
cess might be the result. The important feature should be given strict 
attention, and only sufficient care devoted to the secondary features to 
keep them up to the standard. In developing a certain feature by 
selection it may falsely appear that it is this organ alone that varies. 
Careful attention to other features will, however, show that they also 
vary, and probably fully as much, but as no attempt is made to fix or 


increase these variations they are mostly lost. If such secondary 
variations are not detrimental, no attention need be given to them. 

Many of the valuable varieties of cultivated plants which have 
appeared in recent years have been the results of bud sports, fortui- 
tous variations, crossing, hybridizing, etc. , but it is probable that the 
great majority of our cultivated plants were developed simply by 
selection. This is indicated by the fact that the majority of them 
were brought into cultivation by our early ancestors while still in a 
savage or semicivilized state, when all methods of agriculture were 
the simplest possible. Many of these were so modified by culture 
before records were kept that the original types from which they 
were developed are not known and can not be distinguished with 
certainty. It is not at all probable, considering the crude methods 
employed at that period, that any means of development could have 
operated other than simply the selection of seeds for propagation from 
the best variations which appeared under this crude culture. 

The time it requires to produce valuable varieties by selection 
depends much upon the inheritability of the variation which is being 
developed and fixed. The degree of inheritability of variations pro- 
duced by environment are very different. The definite variations 
which are produced by plants as reactions under changed environ- 
ment, such as dwarfed habit, caused by transferring the plant to 
alpine regions, or succulence, caused by transferring to maritime 
regions, are usually lost the first generation if the normal conditions 
are restored. It is certain, however, that as long as the changed envi- 
ronment is continued the modifications are regularly produced, and 
usually in a gradually increased degree (progressively modified), fre- 
quently forming well-marked varieties. Continued growth under the 
same conditions evidently in most cases gradually leads to establish- 
ing the inheritability of the variation. In many instances, however, 
variations produced by environment, which variations have been 
formed regularly every generation for centuries, have not yet become 
sufficiently fixed in habit to be inheritable. Such are cypress knees, 
aerating roots of black mangrove, etc., which are lost the first gener- 
ation if the inciting cause is removed. How great a variation must 
be or how many generations it must be formed to acquire stability can 
in no case be stated. The selection by man from each generation of 
those plants which show the most marked variation in the desired 
direction, and propagating only from seed selected from these, tends 
to greatly promote fixing the inheritability of the character. 

The selection of wild radish, or jointed charlock, seeds, carried on 
for some time by Carriere, resulted in the production of several vari- 
eties of radishes similar to those commonly cultivated. In the same 
way seeds of wild parsnip, selected by Professor Buckman from the 
best-rooted plants during several generations, produced a variety in 
which the large root and glabrous leaves were hereditary. Both 


Vilmorin and Carriere obtained similar results with the wild carrot by 
selection. Monnier's change of winter wheat to summer wheat and 
summer wheat to winter wheat furnishes an interesting illustration 
of the quick changes which are sometimes wrought by change of 
conditions and Careful selection. Monnier "sowed winter wheat in 
spring, and out of 100 plants, 4 alone produced ripe seeds. These 
were sown and resown, and in three years plants were reared which 
ripened all their seed. Conversely, nearly all the plants raised from 
summer wheat sown in autumn perished from frost, but a few seeds 
were saved and produced seed, and in three years this summer variety 
was converted into a winter variety." 

When once the ideal variety has been attained by selection and is 
found to be propagated by the seed, it would seem desirable that 
variation should cease, at least in this particular strain of plants; 
but plants in all conditions and in all places are markedly plastic and 
variable. If it is desired to keep the variety true to the type, the 
most rigid care is necessary in destroying all variations that may 
appear. " Roguing," or destroying the nontypical plants, is regularly 
practiced by good seedsmen. Most varieties which have been exten- 
sively cultivated for any length of time have varied greatly, aided 
often by the unconscious selection of the cultivator, until they are 
entirely different from those first introduced under the names which 
they bear. In regard to the pea, Darwin states that ' ' the greater num- 
ber of varieties have a singularly short life. Thus Loudon remarks that 
' sorts which were highly approved in 1821 are now (1833) nowhere 
to be found,' and on comparing the lists of 1833 with those of 1855, I 
find that nearly all the varieties have changed." Bailey estimates 
that "every decade sees a complete change in every variety of any 
annual species which is propagated exclusively from seeds, and every 
century must see a like change in the tree fruits." The change is not 
necessarily detrimental to the variety; indeed, the opposite is usually 
true. The almost universal unconscious selection usually results in 
gradual improvement, but along different lines. The changes wrought 
in the variety are commonly so gradual that we do not realize that 
they are taking place unless the most careful attention is given to 
keeping the variety pure. Seedsmen and gardeners become expert 
in recognizing departures from the type, and this acuteness has a 
twofold object. On the one hand it is desired to keep the variety 
true, and on the other to detect desirable variations. In the exten- 
sive fields of the large seed firms all detrimental or unpromising 
variations are destroyed to keep the variety true, and all promising 
variations are retained for selection and improvement. The demand 
for novelties sharpens the seedsman's wits. In a few years, as a 
result of the discovery of a promising variation, or "rogue," the Per- 
fected Delmonico melon or the Improved Golden wax bean is intro- 
duced. These varieties are the result of the seedsman's most careful 


attention in breeding the variations for several generations and in 
carefully selecting and destroying the "rogues," until the new type 
has become practically fixed and hereditary. 

We have thus far considered only the development of variations 
caused by environment through seed selection, as this seems to be the 
only sure way of fixing and rendering such variations hereditary and 
transmissible through the seed. In plants that are propagated regu- 
larly by cuttings, suckers, etc. , similar improvements may be wrought 
by careful selection. Bud variations, or sports, which may be the 
indirect result of changed conditions, are usually marked variations, 
which can not be improved by seed selection, as the variation is not 
usually reproduced by the seed. Improvements in such cases must 
be by bud selection. 

The improvement of plants by careful selection and fixation of 
variations, crossing, hybridizing, etc., while in one sense a well-worn 
field of practical investigation, is in another sense new and promis- 
ing. The demand for novelties is constantly increasing, and at no 
previous time have results in this direction met with so ready appre- 
ciation. The diversification and extension of fruit and vegetable 
industries into new regions creates a demand for varieties adapted to 
various conditions. As the conditions are numberless, the field for 
improvement seems almost inexhaustible. No branch of horticulture 
or agriculture promises more important and remunerative results 
than may be attained by intelligent plant breeding. Rather more 
than ordinary intelligence is necessary to satisfactorily conduct such 
work, however, and the desirability of a thorough preparatory train- 
ing, such as may be obtained in our State agricultural colleges, can 
not be overestimated. 


By H. W. Wiley, 
Chief of the Division of Chemistry, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


The potash naturally present in a soil, in common with its other 
mineral constituents, is the residue of the decomposition of the min- 
erals which composed the original rocks. The common salts of pot- 
ash, viz, phosphate, chloride, sulphate, etc., are soluble in water, and 
where disintegrated rocks are subjected to leaching these salts are in 
a great measure removed. In the original rocks the potash is chiefly 
held in the structure of silicates, more or less complex, and wholly 
insoluble in water. In the debris of these rocks, as found in the soil, 
it is evident that the potash must still be held in the insoluble state, 
but, nevertheless, so thoroughly decomposed as to be yielded grad- 
ually to the demands of the growing plant. 


During the progress of decomposition a portion of the potash passes 
into the soluble state and is removed by the leaching produced by 
heavy rains. This fact is conclusively shown by the chemical analysis 
of fresh and decomposed rocks of the same structure and occurring 
in the same locality. For instance, in the analysis of a fresh and 
decomposed rock (diabase) near Medford, Mass., it was found by Mr. 
G. P. Merrill that the undecomposed sample contained 2.16 per cent of 
potash, and the disintegrated portion 1.75 per cent. From these data 
it is seen that by leaching during and after weathering the diabase lost 
19 per cent of its potash. 

In comparing the soil, partially disintegrated rock and undecom- 
posed granite, from which the fresh and decomposed rocks were de- 
rived, near Rock Creek, in the District of Columbia, almost the same 
relative loss was found, the percentages of potash in the rock, decom- 
posed rock, and soil being, respectively, as follows: 2.71, 2.11, and 
2.10, showing a loss in passing from the fresh rock to the complete 
soil of 23.5 per cent. 

From these data it is safe to conclude that in virgin soils, formed 
in situ and free from erosion, from 70 to 80 per cent of the potash pres- 
ent in the original rocks will still be found. It would evidently be 
useless to seek for any constant relation between the potash in sedi- 
mentary soils and that in the rocks from which they were originally 



formed. In these soils is found a mixture of sediments of very dif- 
ferent origins and of different degrees of fineness, the finest particles 
being evidently carried to the greatest distance, or being last depos- 
ited. In the finer particles of such a soil there is naturally a great 
disturbance of relations, and the potash itself is distributed among 
such particles in proportion to its solubility and the specific gravity 
of the intact rock fragments containing it. 


The mineral constituents of rocks which afford the largest quan- 
tities of potash to the soil are the potash feldspars. The rocks 
containing this mineral are widely distributed. Feldspar itself is 
essentially a silicate of alumina associated with the silicates of potas- 
sium, sodium, or calcium. Magnesia and iron are either absent or 
occur in very small quantities. The predominating alkali is either 
potash or soda, although where potash predominates there is nearly 
always some soda, and where soda predominates a small quantity 
of potassium is found. The amount of potash in feldspars varies 
widely; it is in general from 5 to 15 per cent. In a variety of feld- 
spar found at French Creek mines, Warwick, Pa., 15.99 per cent of 
potash has been found; at Magnet Cove, Hot Springs, Ark., 15.60 
per cent; at Leverett, Mass., 12.20 per cent. Feldspars of this kind 
have as much potash as the fertilizing material known as kainite, 
described further on. It is evident that if such feldspars were readily 
decomposable, yielding the potash in a form soluble in water or easily 
dissolved by the vital activity of the rootlets, they would be quite as 
valuable for fertilizing purposes as the kainite of commerce. In point 
of fact, however, these feldspars, as a rule, disintegrate slowly, and 
it is probable that there would be no immediate effect produced by 
applying them, even in a finely ground state, to the soil. Sooner or 
later, however, the process of disintegration would be sufficiently 
advanced to render the potash assimilable, little by little, by the grow- 
ing crops. 

Feldspars may be altered or disintegrated by infiltrating waters 
carrying more or less carbon dioxide in solution, and also by the action 
of waters rendered acid by the decomposition of sulphides, or a min- 
eral containing the protoxide of iron is often the first occasion of the 
change. When the infiltrated waters contain carbon dioxide, the 
feldspar first loses its lime, by a combination of the lime with this 
acid, and next a portion of its potash is carried off as carbonates. 
The residue, being chiefly silicate of alumina, becomes a kind of 
kaoline. The carbonate of soda or potash or the silicate of those bases 
may be used in the formation of other minerals, while the alkali goes 
to supply the saline ingredients of fresh and marine waters. The 
decomposition of feldspathic rocks near the surface of the earth 
evidently proceeds in such a way as to distribute extremely fine 


particles of the partially undecomposed minerals throughout the soil. 
These mineral particles contain the residual potash of the original 
mineral in a form which may be slowly used for agricultural purposes. 
In localities subjected to heavy rains the water-soluble form of the 
potash resulting from weathering is not found except in very limited 
quantities, but, as indicated in the analyses cited, the quantity of the 
potash lost by this solvent action does not in many instances exceed 

20 or 25 per cent of the total quantity present iu the original rock. 



When a soil is separated by water into groups of particles of 
approximately the same size, the potash is unequally distributed 
among them. In one instance it has been shown that a soil contain- 
ing 0. 63 per cent of potash afforded sediments in which the potash was 
distributed as follows: In the clay (21.64 per cent of the whole) 1.47 
per cent; in silt less than a quarter of a millimeter in diameter (23.56 
per cent of the whole) 0.53 per cent; in silt half a millimeter in diam- 
eter (13.67 per cent of the whole) 0.12 per cent. The total potash in 
all the sediments amounted to 0.49 per cent of the weight of the soil, 
showing a loss of 0.15 per cent, which is ascribed to the solvent 
action of the water used in effecting the separation. 



The solubility of soil particles of different degrees of fineness in an 
acid, such as hot hydrochloric, is, as a rule, inversely proportional to 
their size. The clay, therefore, possesses the highest degree of solu- 
bility, and the coarser particles in the order of their size are less sol- 
uble. Thus, while a soil may lose a portion of its potash in passing 
from a state of larger to one of smaller aggregates, the residual potash 
becomes more readily soluble, and therefore more easily assimilated 
by the plant. In the coarser particles of the soil are retained those 
mineral constituents of plant food which, in the course of years, 
become gradually available. Nature thus conserves the potash, as 
well as other mineral foods, in a most careful manner, giving up only 
limited portions each year. 


As a result of the studies of the composition of the silts, the follow- 
ing conclusions may be drawn : 

1. The iron and alumina exist in almost identical relative propor- 
tions in each sediment, making it probable that they are in some way 
definitely correlated. 

2. Potash and magnesia also exist in almost the same quantities, 


and their ratio to each other in all the sediments being almost constant 
seems to indicate that they occur combined, perhaps in some zeolitic 
silicate which may be a source of supply to plants. 

3. Manganese exists only in the clay, a mere trace being found in 
the next sediment. 

4. The lime appears to have disappeared in the clay, having prob- 
ably been largely dissolved in the form of carbonate by the large 
quantity of water used in elutriation. Its increase in the coarser 
portions may be owing to its existence in a crystallized form not so 
readily soluble. 

5. In a summary of the ingredients, it is seen that there is a loss in 
potash, magnesia, and lime in the sediments as compared with the 
original soil, and this loss is doubtless partly due to the solution of 
these bodies in the water of elutriation. 

A noteworthy fact is the rapid decrease of acid-soluble matter in 
the coarser sediments. 


A study of the distribution of the potash in the soil and subsoil may 
be undertaken from two points of view. In the first place, the total 
quantity present in each may be determined. This result does not 
take into consideration the availability of the potash, nor its relative 
solubility in different menstrua, but represents only the total quan- 
tity present in every form. 

In the second place, an attempt may be made to determine only 
that portion of the potash which is soluble in a given menstruum un- 
der set conditions, representing, presumably, the quantity of potash 
immediately or successively available for the nourishment of plants. 

In ten samples of typical soils and subsoils, representing different 
parts of the country, the total average quantity of potash found and 
also the quantity soluble in hot hydrochloric acid, on digestion for ten 
hours, are as given in the following table : 


Virgin surface 

Virgin subsoil 

Cultivated surface . 
Cultivated subsoil . 


Per cent. 

in HC1. 

Per cent- 


These data show that there is slightly less potash in the surface 
than in the subsoils, and this indicates that the leaching of the sur- 
face soil and the abstraction therefrom of the potash by the growing 
plants tend to diminish the total quantity of potash therein as com- 
pared with the lower layers of soil where these extractive forces are 
less vigorous. On the other hand, the data show that the potash 


in the surface soil is more soluble in hydrochloric acid than that 
contained in the subsoil. This condition is brought about by the 
greater exposure of the surface soil to weathering influences and by 
the action of cultivation in reducing partially decayed mineral frag- 
ments to a finer state of subdivision and to the biochemical activity 
of soil ferments and plant life. The evident deduction is that while 
the surface contains slightly less potash than the subsoil, the potash 
in the former is more easily assimilable than that in the latter. In 
this connection it should be noted that, with one or two exceptions, 
the surface soils used in the above analyses had never been treated 
with any potash fertilizers. It is evident, however, that the relative 
quantities of potash in soils and subsoils may vary from geological and 
meteorological causes and with the character of crop and cultivation. 


From the data given, it is seen that hydrochloric acid extracts, in 
round numbers, 20 per cent of the total potash in the soil. The exact 
numbers for the different soils are as follows : 

Per cent. 

In virgin surface soil 21.92 

In virgin subsoil 18.83 

In cultivated surface soil 22. 66 

In cultivated subsoil 19. 76 

Mean for forty samples . 20. 79 

The quantity of potash which weaker solvents abstract from a 
sample of soil depends largely, not only on the nature of the solvent, 
but also on its relative quantity when compared with the soil samples, 
the length of time the sample is subjected to digestion with the sol- 
vent, and the temperature and the degree of mechanical agitation to 
which the mixture is subjected. In comparative determinations, 
made in the division, it has been shown that organic acids and their 
salts extract much smaller quantities of potash from the soil than hot, 
strong hydrochloric acid. The weakest of these solvents gives results 
more concordant with the quantity of potash taken from the soil by 
growing crops than can be obtained by the use of more effective sol- 



It is generally assumed that one of the chief factors active in secur- 
ing the solution of potash in the soil is the acid secretion of the root- 
lets of plants. The acidity of this secretion is due to a weak organic 
acid — citric, malic, or oxalic — and for this reason it is justly supposed 
that the solvent action of a weak acid on a soil more nearly represents 
the natural action of a plant than any other method of extraction. 


Unfortunately, the degree and nature of the acid secretion of root- 
lets can not always be determined, and therefore any attempt to imi- 
tate the natural process by laboratory methods must be more or less 

In addition to this, no use can be made in the laboratory of the vital 
and vegetal forces which undoubtedly exercise a great influence on 
the solubility of the constituents of the soil. Nevertheless, it is inter- 
esting to study the action of dilute organic acids on soils, and espe- 
cially to compare it, under fixed conditions, with the data got from the 
crop itself. 

It has been found in experiments here, on eight typical soils from 
different parts of the country, that the following mean quantity of 
potash is removed by digesting 200 grams of fine soil for five hours 
with 1 liter of a 1 per cent citric acid solution at a temperature of 
100° F. : 

Per cent. 

Total mean quantity of potash in soils 1.5910 

Total mean quantity of potash removed by hydrochloric acid . 2580 

Total mean quantity of potash removed by citric acid 0074 

In comparing these data for the eight soils examined, the following 
facts appear: Hydrochloric acid extracts 16.2 per cent of the total 
potash; citric acid extracts 0.45 per cent of the total potash. The 
citric acid is, therefore, more than thirty-six times as weak a solvent 
for potash as hydrochloric. 

In making this comparison, however, it must be. remembered that 
the extraction with hydrochloric is made with strong acid at a tem- 
perature of boiling water, while the extraction with the citric acid is 
made with a very weak solution and at a temperature but very little 
above that of the workroom. For equal degrees of concentration, 
equal temperatures, and equal times of digestion the difference in 
solvent power would not be so marked. 


An acre contains 43,560 square feet of surface, and in a depth of 
1 foot, 43,560 cubic feet of soil. 

The weight of a cubic foot of dry soil varies greatly, according to 
its nature, a sandy soil being heaviest, and a peaty soil lightest. For 
common arable soils the weight is about 80 pounds per cubic foot. 
The total weight of an acre of dry soil, taken to the depth of 1 foot, 
is therefore about 3,484,800 pounds. Since a very fertile soil contains 
about 2 per cent of potash, it is seen that the total weight of this sub- 
stance in an acre of soil, measured as above noted, is 69,696 pounds. 
A crop removing 50 pounds of potash a year could be grown consecu- 
tively for nearly one thousand four hundred years on such a soil 
before its content of potash would be entirely exhausted. 

Many fields are found, however, in the older continents which have 


certainly been under cultivation for more than four thousand years, 
and which still contain notable portions of potash. It is evident, 
therefore, that the stores of potash are either conserved by fertiliza- 
tion or are gradually restored from the deeper and apparently inex- 
haustible supplies afforded by the progressive decay of subterranean 
rocks. Referred to the weight of the soil on the above data, the per- 
centage of potash removed by a single crop consuming 50 pounds of 
potash per acre is almost infinitesimal, being represented by the 
fraction 0.0000143. Based on the total quantity of potash, the amount 
removed by one crop is 0.000717 per cent. These quantities are so 
small that it is quite beyond the limit of accuracy in analytical work 
to determine them definitely. It is undoubtedly true, however, that 
the assimilability of potash depends, to a large extent, upon the 
quantity thereof soluble in either hydrochloric acid or in some one 
of the organic acids or its salts which may be used for extraction. 
Fortunately, the rootlets of plants come into intimate contact with 
only a very small portion of the soil in which they grow, and it is 
the semisoluble potash in these soil particles that serves for plant 
food. When, however, a small quantity of potash, soluble in water, 
is added to the soil, nearly the whole of it, under favorable climatic 
conditions, may be absorbed by a single crop. It is evident, there- 
fore, that treatment with hydrochloric acid, and even with dilute 
organic acids of their salts, will not give us the data of actually avail- 
able potash, but they may afford a basis on which the proportion of 
available potash may be calculated. The soil holds a certain quantity 
of fertilizing materials with such tenacity as to render it practically 
impossible for plants to entirely absorb the supply and leave the 
fields utterly impoverished. Thus nature to a certain extent defends 
the future against the rapacity of the present, for it is certain that 
should science discover a method whereby all the fertilizing ingredi- 
ents of the soil could be made available in fifty years, aggressive 
agriculture would not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. 



It is evident that the quantity of potash withdrawn from the soil 
by a given crop varies from year to year with the abundance of the 
harvest and with meteorological conditions. In determining the mean 
annual contribution of potash, it is sufficient to ascertain the mean 
yield of the crop for a series of years and base the estimates thereon. 
The potash which enters into a crop is not all removed by the harvest. 
A part remains in the roots, when these are not harvested, and in the 
straw or other debris left in the field. The most complete removal 
of the potash takes place with root crops, such as the sugar beet, 
where both tops and roots are gathered. The minimum harvested 
12 A96 8 


quantity of potash entering into crops and subject to harvest is found 
in fruits, in maize gathered from the stalk, in cotton, and in wheat 
and other cereals harvested by headers. In making estimates of the 
quantities of potash removed by the principal crops, the above state- 
ments are taken into consideration. In the principal cereal crops, 
of the magnitude noted, which represent about the average produc- 
tion of the United States for 1895, the quantities of ash in grains and 
straw, the percentage of potash therein, and the weight of potash per 
acre are given in the following table : 




Weight of ash 
in grain. 

Per cent 

of potash 

in ash. 

Weight of 


3i, 000,000 
















Weight of ash 
in straw. 

Per cent 

of potash 

in ash. 

Weight of pot- 
ash in straw. 

Total weight 

of potash in 

grain and 


per acre. 



















S3. 4 

The mean quantity of potash removed per acre by the cereal crops 
mentioned above is 27.9 pounds. The hay crop of the United States 
at the present time is about 50,000,000 tons per year, grown on an 
area of about 45,000,000 acres. The mean content of ash in dry hay 
is about 7 per cent, and the total ash of the hay crop is, therefore, 
3,500,000 tons, or 7,000,000,000 pounds. The mean percentage of pot- 
ash in the ash of hay is about 23, and the total weight of potash removed 
from the soil by the hay crop is, therefore, 1,610,000,000 pounds, and 
the weight per acre about 36 pounds. 

The quantities of potash removed per acre by other crops are as 



Sugar beets 
Sugar cane . 




Quantity per acre. 

100 bushels 

10 tons 

30 tons - 

Crop yielding 180 pounds of lint 
1,000 pounds leaves 

15 bushels, 1,800 pounds straw . 






For an average harvest the quantities of potash removed from the 
soil by some of the principal crops in Germany are given in the fol- 
lowing table : 


Kilos per 

Forage beets . 
Sugar beets .. 








Clover hay ... 
Lucerne hay - 


per acre. 


Kilos per 



to kainite. 



per acre. 



Different plants in a dry state contain very different quantities of 
potash, and these variations are equally well marked in the different 
parts of each plant. 

Dry tobacco leaves contain a larger percentage of potash than any 
other common agricultural plant, viz, about forty parts per thousand. 
Tobacco is of all crops the one which has the greatest need of potash 
food. The proportions of potash in some other common crops, reck- 
oned as parts per thousand of the dry substance, are as follows: 
Forage beets, 35; potatoes, 20; sugar beets, 18; red clover, 19; mixed 
hay, 16; beans, 13; peas, 10; rye (kernels), 6; wheat (kernels), 5; 
oats (kernels), 5; barley (kernels), 5; maize (kernels), 5. 

In the dry straw, the parts of potash in one thousand are as fol- 
lows: Beans, 19; oats, 16; barley, 11; peas, 10; rye, 9; wheat, 6. 


In cereal crops about four times as much potash is removed in the 
straw as in the grain, while in peas, beans, and other crops of that 
kind the proportion is about two to one in favor of the straw. This 
is an important fact to be considered in preserving the straw of these 
crops for forage and manorial purposes. 

From the foregoing statements it is easy to determine the drain on 
the potash stores of the soil which is made by the leading field crops 
of this country. These data are based on the average production per 
acre of the crops noted. In many localities the quantity of the crop 
produced may be very much greater or less than the average, and in 
these cases the loss of potash must be correspondingly increased or 



From the data given it is seen that the total quantity of potash 
removed from the soil by a single crop is an almost infinitesimal per- 
centage of the weight of the soil. Even on the assumption that the 
total acidity of the excretions of the rootlets of plants is correctly 
represented by a citric acid solution of 1 per cent strength, it is 
clearly evident that the digestion of a small quantity of soil with an 
excess of the reagent is a process totally different from that of nature 
where the quantity of solvent is many thousands of times less than 
the quantity of soil. Nevertheless, a comparison of the quantities of 
potash removed from the soil by such a solvent with the actual quan- 
tities removed by the crop can afford valuable data for approximately 
estimating, by purely chemical means, the degree of availability of 
the potash present. Experience has shown that when a soil yields as 
much as 0.01 per cent of potash to a 1 per cent citric acid solution, 
the addition of potassic fertilizers does not produce an economic 
increase in the crop, while, on the other hand, when the quantity of 
potash extracted by the citric acid falls to 0.007 per cent, potash fer- 
tilizers give a most decided increase in yield. In this connection it 
should be noted that the quantity of carbonate of lime in the soil has 
an important restraining bearing on the action of citric acid in liber- 
ating potash. It is evident that a large amount of experimental work 
must yet be done before this question receives a satisfactory answer. 


It has been stated that in the decay of rocks containing potash a 
notable proportion of the potash, varying in amount from 20 to 40 per 
cent, is lost by solution and carried into the streams. The potash 
thus passing into solution finds its way either into the lakes or the 
ocean, where it is subjected to the general laws of segregation which 
govern the formation of mineral strata deposited from water. 

As is well known, in the deposition of mineral matters there is 
exerted a natural selection in such a way as to bring together those of 
like character. This selection is exerted chiefly through the different 
degrees of solubility of the mineral matters and the relative propor- 
tions thereof existing in solution. It is evident that even a highly 
soluble substance when dissolved to saturation in a liquid will be 
deposited when a portion of that liquid is evaporated or if it be 
reduced in temperature. As a result of this law of deposition, we find 
the layers of various stratified rocks and of rock salt, sulphate of lime, 
sulphate of magnesia, sulphate of soda, and the sulphate and chloride 
of potassium. 

All the potash salts which have been carried into the sea and lakes 
either still remain in solution in these waters, have been removed by 
the animal and vegetable life therein, or are deposited in layers in 
company with their other mineral constituents. 


The recovery of the waste potash is chiefly secured by the isolation 
of sea waters containing large quantities of this salt, and their subse- 
quent evaporation. Such isolation of sea waters takes place by 
means of geologic changes in the level of the land and sea. In the 
raising of an area above the water level there is almost certain to be 
an inclosure of the sea water, of greater or less extent, in the form of 
a lake. This inclosure may be complete or only partial, the inclosed 
water area being still in communication with the main body of the 
sea by means of small estuaries. If this body of water be exposed 
to rapid evaporation, as was doubtless the case in past geologic 
ages, there will be a continual influx of additional sea water through 
these estuaries to take the place of that evaporated. The waters 
may thus become more and more charged with saline constituents. 
Finally a point is reached in the evaporation when the less soluble 
of the saline constituents begin to be deposited. In this way the 
various formations of mineral matter, produced by the drying up of 
inclosed waters, take place. 

The most extensive potash deposits known are those in the neigh- 
borhood of Stassf urt, in Germany. According to the best authorities, 
the Stassf urt deposits of potash had their origin in past geologic epochs 
by the isolation of a part of the sea, the waters of which were heavily 
charged with potash salts. This isolation was at first incomplete, 
and as the evaporation of the inclosed waters took place they were 
supplied by small estuaries leading to the ocean, and by a continua- 
tion of this process the percentage of saline matters in the waters 
rapidly increased. In those ages the climate of Europe was still trop- 
ical, and the rate of evaporation was therefore much more rapid than 
at the present time. The less soluble materials, such, for instance, as 
gypsum, naturally were the first deposited, and as common salt was 
the most abundant mineral ingredient, these deposits of gypsum were 
covered with thick layers of rock salt as the next deposit. This layer 
ultimately reached a thickness of 3,000 feet, and it is stated by geol- 
ogists that it required at least 13,000 years to form it. The deposit of 
rock salt is not continuous, but is broken occasionally with lamellated 
deposits of sulphate of lime and, toward the top of the formation, by 
layers of the mineral called polyhalite, which consists of the sulphates 
of lime, potash, and magnesia. Above these deposits are found other 
layers containing the mineral kieserite (sulphate of magnesia). Above 
the kieserite line the chief deposits of potash salts consist mainly 
of the mineral carnallite, composed of muriate of potash and chloride 
of magnesia. The carnallite deposit is from 50 to 130 feet in thick- 
ness, and yields the most important quantity of the crude potash 
from which the manufactured salts of commerce are made. Above 
the layer of carnallite is found a covering of clay which is almost 
impervious to water, and it is this water-tight covering which has pre- 
served the soluble mineral deposited under it from subsequent solution 


in percolating rain water. Had it not been for this protection these 
deposits of potash, now so valuable to agriculture, would long ago 
have been washed away and lost. 

Again, above the clay is another stratum of sulphate of lime, show- 
ing that after the deposit of the clay the original process of the deposi- 
tion of mineral matter was continued, since above the sulphate of lime 
is found again a layer of rock salt- but this rock salt is of a purer 
quality than that of the first layer mentioned. The deposits are com- 
pleted by another layer of sulphate of lime and of impervious clay 
capped by sand and limestone, which crop out at the surface of the soil. 

The perpendicular distance from the surface to the lowest of the 
Stassfurt salt deposits is about 5,000 feet, while the horizontal extent 
of the bed is from the Harz Mountains to the Elbe River in one direc- 
tion and from the city of Magdeburg to the town of Bernburg in the 

The saline formation near Stassfurt is situated at the bottom of a 
vast triassic deposit surrounding Magdeburg. The quantity of sea 
water which was evaporated to produce the deposits of more than 500 
meters in thickness must have been enormous, and the rate of evapo- 
ration great. It appears that a temperature of boiling water would 
have been quite necessary, acting for a long time, to produce this 

It is therefore admitted that all the theories so far advanced to 
explain the magnitude of these deposits are attended with certain 
difficulties. What, for instance, could have caused so high a temper- 
ature ? The most reasonable cause must be sought for in the violent 
chemical action produced by the double decompositions of such vast 
quantities of salts of different kinds. There may also have been at 
the bottom of this basis some subterranean heat, such as is found in 
certain localities where boric acid is deposited. 

AVhatever be the explanation of the source of the heat, it will be 
admitted that at the end of the Permian period there was thrown up 
to the northeast of the present saline deposits a ridge extending from 
Heligoland to Westphalia. This dam established throughout the 
whole of north Germany saline lagoons in which evaporation was at 
once established, and these lagoons were constantly fed from the sea. 

There was then deposited by evaporation, first of all, a layer of 
gypsum, and afterwards rock salt, covering, with few exceptions, the 
whole of the area of north Germany. 

But around Stassfurt there occurred at this time geologic dis- 
placements, the saline basin was permanently closed, and then by 
continued evaporation the more deliquescent salts, such as polyhalite, 
kieserite, and carnallite, were deposited. 

These theories account with sufficient ease for the deposition of the 
saline masses, but do not explain why in those days the sea water 
was so rich in potash and why potash is not found in other localities 


where vast quantities of gypsum and common salt have been depos- 
ited. It may be that the rocks composing the shores of these lagoons 
were exceptionally rich in potash, and that this salt was, therefore, in 
a certain degree, a loeal contribution to the products of concentration. 
Up to the present time, deposits of potash salts have not been found 
in this country in connection with the mines of rock salt which exist 
in great numbers and underlie a vast extent of territory. It is true 
a systematic search for potash deposits has never been made, but, as 
in the case of the German deposits, if they had existed to any extent 
in this country they would have been discovered accidentally in 
the mining of rock salt which has been so extensively practiced. 
Our geologists and agronomists, however, do not despair of the dis- 
covery of potash deposits on the continent of North America, although 
there is no danger of the exhaustion of the German mines for hun- 
dreds of years to come. In the interest of economy, however, it would 
be found that the saving in freight which would be secured by the 
discovery of domestic deposits would prove of the greatest advantage 
to the American farmer. 


According to the statistics of the Stassfurt mines for 1894, the last 
available, the quantity of crude salts raised was 727,234 tons of 2,240 
pounds each, worth at the mines $2,574,805. The greater part of 
this product was sold in the crude state for fertilizing purposes, and 
high-grade compounds were prepared from the rest. The quantities 
of high-grade products made during that year were as follows: Potas- 
sium chloride (muriate of potash), 149,775 tons, worth $4,722,049; 
potassium sulphate, 23,281 ttps, worth $958,736; potassium-magne- 
sium sulphate, 14,150 tons, worth $274,694. 


The potassium chloride is prepared by leaching the carnallite, or 
other crude salts containing potassium chloride, either with hot water 
or a hot concentrated solution of magnesium chloride in such propor- 
tions as to dissolve the potassium and magnesium chlorides but not 
the common salt. On cooling this solution to 70° C. and allowing it to 
remain for some time, the potassium chloride is deposited in a crys- 
talline form. *A second crop of crystals is also obtained by cooling 
the mixture to usual temperatures. On concentrating the residual 
mother liquor, another crystalline deposit, consisting of mixed potas- 
sium and magnesium chlorides, is obtained, which can be added to the 
crude salt and re-treated as above. The crystals of potassium chloride 
obtained by the first two crystallizations are washed, drained, dried, 
and packed for shipment. By repeated evaporations, crystalliza- 
tions, and resolution, about 85 per cent of the potassium chloride is 


finally obtained, only about 15 per cent being lost in the waste waters. 
Even these wastes are evaporated and sold for fertilizing purposes to 
nearby farmers. 

Potassium sulphate is most easily prepared by treating the chlorine 
compounds of potash, obtained as already described, with sulphuric 
acid. Free hydrochloric acid is generated by this treatment, which 
may be collected in cold water in the usual way. 

The double sulphate of potash and magnesia is made for commercial 
purposes from the impure kainite as it comes from the mines. A sat- 
urated solution of the crude kainite, made with water under pressure 
at a temperature of 250° P. , will deposit the double sulphate in fine 
crystals on cooling. 

Potassium carbonate is made from the chloride or sulphate by roast- 
ing the salts with finely divided charcoal and carbonate of lime. By 
this process potassium carbonate is formed, which can be extracted 
by lixiviation. For fertilizing purposes this salt is used chiefly for 


The deposits of potash salts are not all found at the present time in 
the same condition in which they were first separated from the natural 
brines. The strata have been subjected to the usual upheavals and 
subsidences peculiar to geological history, whereby their edges have 
been brought to the surface and exposed to solution. The dissolved 
brines afterwards deposited the crystallizable salts in new combina- 
tions. For instance, kieserite and the potassium chloride of carnallite 
were first dissolved from the deposits and there was left a salt com- 
posed chiefly of potassium and sodium chlorides known as sylvinite. 
In some cases there was a mutual reaction between the magnesium 
sulphate and the potassium chloride, and a new salt, viz, schonite, a 
magnesium-potassium sulphate, was produced. 

The most important of these secondary products, from an agricul- 
tural standpoint, is kainite. This compound has arisen by the union 
of potassium and magnesium sulphates and magnesium chloride, and 
is formed at the borders of the layers of carnallite wherever water has 
worked upon it. The quantity of kainite, as may be supposed, is far 
less than that of carnallite, but there is quite enough of it to satisfy 
all the demands of agriculture for an indefinite time. 


The most important of the natural salts of potash for fertilizing 
purposes is the mixture described above, known as kainite. In a pure 
state it is represented by the symbol K 2 S0 4 .MgS0 4 .MgCl 2 .H 2 0. Its 
theoretical content of potash is 16 per cent. The pure salt, how- 
ever, is not found in commerce. As it comes from the mines, it is 


mixed with common salt, potassium chloride, gypsum, and other 
bodies. In general, the content of potash in the commercial kainite is 
about 12.5 per cent, of which more than 1 percent is derived from the 
potassium chloride present. Kainite occurs in situ as a crystalline, 
partly colorless and partly a yellow-red mass. When ground, in 
which state it is usually sent into commerce, it forms a fine gray- 
colored mass containing many small yellow and red-colored fragments. 
It is not hygroscopic, and if it become moist it is due to the excess of 
common salt which it contains. Formerly, kainite was regarded as a 
potassium-magnesium sulphate, but this conception does not even 
apply to the pure salt, much less to that which comes from the minejs. 
If, therefore, the farmer desire a potash fertilizer free of chlorine, he 
would be deceived in choosing kainite, as it may sometimes contain 
nearly 50 per cent of its weight in chlorides. 

In many cases the chlorine content of kainite may prove advanta- 
geous, the chlorides, on account of their easy diffusibility through the 
soil, serving to distribute the other ingredients. By reason of the 
presence of common salt and magnesium chloride there is a tendency 
for kainite to harden into compact masses, which may be prevented by 
mixing it with about 2. 5 per cent of its weight of finely ground dry peat. 


This mineral, the most abundant of the natural deposits of potash, 
is a mixture of potassium and magnesium chlorides and crystallizes 
with six molecules of water. It is represented by the symbol KC1. 
MgCl 8 .6H 8 0. The pure salt is not found in commerce, and the com- 
mercial article contains a quantity of potassium and magnesium 
sulphates and other bodies. Carnallite is the chief source of the 
muriate of potash (potassium chloride) which is found in commerce. 
The commercial carnallite has slightly less potash than kainite, the 
mean content being about 9.9 per cent. It occurs in characteristic 
red-brown masses, and on account of its highly hygroscopic nature it 
should be kept, as far as possible, out of contact with moist air and 
should not be ground until immediately before using. 


Polyhalite is a mineral occurring in the Stassfurt deposits, and con- 
sisting of a mixture of potassium, magnesium, and calcium sulphates, 
crystallizing with a small quantity of water. On account of being 
practically free of chlorides, this mineral would be an ideal natural 
fertilizer for tobacco and vineyards, but unfortunately it does not 
occur in sufficient quantities to warrant the expectation of its ever 
being an important article of commerce. It is found only in pockets, 
or seams, among the other deposits, and there is no assurance, on 
finding one of these pockets, that it will extend to any great dis- 
tance. The composition of the mineral is represented by the formula 


K 2 S0 4 .MgS0 4 .(CaS0 4 ) 2 .H 2 0. The percentage of potash in the min- 
eral is 15.62. 


This mineral occurs associated with polyhalite, and differs from it 
only in containing twice as much gypsum (calcium sulphate). As 
it comes from the mines it is frequently mixed with a little common 
salt. The percentage of potash in the commercial article is about 
10.05. This salt, as the preceding one, also exists in limited quanti- 
ties, and is not likely to become an important article of commerce. 

This salt is an alteration product of carnallite, and is practically a 
pure potassium chloride. It is found only in limited quantities and 
does not have any great commercial importance. 


Considerable quantities of this mineral have been mined in recent 
years, and it is composed of a mixture of common salt bearing large 
quantities of potassium chloride and some other bodies. It was prob- 
ably formed by the drying up of a saline mass in such a way as not 
to permit a complete separation of its mineral constituents. Its con- 
tent of potash, when mined, is about 23 per cent. 


This mineral is essentially a magnesium sulphate, and does not 
necessarily contain any potash salts. Under the name of kieserite, 
however, or bergkieserite, there is mined a mixture of carnallite and 
kieserite which is a commercial source of potash. As delivered from 
the mines the mixture contains only about 7 per cent of potash. 


Among the Stassfurt deposits there occurs in small quantities a min- 
eral, schonite, which is composed of the sulphates of potassium and 
magnesium. On account of the paucity of the mineral it has not 
much commercial importance, but when kainite is washed with water 
the common salt and magnesium chloride which it contains, being 
more soluble, are the first leached out, and the residue has approxi- 
mately the composition of the mineral schonite. The percentage of 
potash in the commercial article is about 27. On account of its low 
content of chlorine, it is especially valuable for the fertilization of 
tobacco and vineyards. 


Of the manufactured salts which are sold for fertilizing purposes, 
the sulphate and carbonate of potash are the most important. 

Several grades of potassium sulphate are sold for fertilizing pur- 
poses. Some of tliem are quite pure, containing about 95 per cent of 



pure sulphate. The percentage of potash in these high-grade salts 
often approximates 50. 

Potassium-magnesiiim carbonate is considered to be one of the best 
potash salts for use in fertilizing tobacco. It has a percentage of 
potash varying from 17 to 18. The compound is dry, not hygroscopic, 
and, therefore, when once ground is always ready for distribution in 
the field. It is especially serviceable for all intensive cultures where 
it is feared that chlorides or sulphates will prove injurious. 

The mean composition of the various salts mentioned is shown in 
the following table : 















Potassium sulphate - 
Magnesium sulphate 
Magnesium chloride 








Per ct. 

Per ct. 

Per ct. 

Per ct. 








Sodium chloride 

Calcium sulphate.. . 



11. CO 








86 to 40 

Magnesium carbon- 

33 to 36 


The primary sources of potash, such as the original feldspars con- 
taining this element and the mineral deposits formed therefrom, are 
not the only stores on which the farmer may draw for supplies of 
this valuable material. It has already been seen that the straw of 
cereals and leguminous crops affords an ash rich in potash, and the 
manurial value of this refuse depends to a certain extent on its con- 
tent of this ingredient. Other organic materials, products of agricul- 
ture, such as tobacco waste, cotton-seed hulls, the ash of woods and 
other terrestrial plants, residues of beet-sugar factories and wineries, 
and stall manures all contribute potash fertilizers to the soil. 


The stems and stalks of tobacco, which are waste products in man- 
ufacture, as has already been noted, are rich in potash. These stems 
give about 15 per cent of ash, which may contain as high as 8 per 
cent of potash. It is not, however, advisable to burn the tobacco 
waste in order to obtain its fertilizing ingredients. In combustion, 


the nitrogenous constituents of the waste, which are also valuable 
fertilizers, are lost, although it is true that both the potash and phos- 
phoric acid become more immediately available after incineration. 
In order to promote the absorption of the fertilizing ingredients of 
tobacco waste, it should always be finely ground before applying it 
to the soil or mixing it with other fertilizing materials. 


The potash content of cotton seed is one of considerable importance 
from a fertilizing point of view. It is customary, in many localities, 
after the separation of the hulls from the seed, to burn the former and 
use only the ash for fertilizing purposes. Cotton-seed hulls contain a 
less percentage of mineral matter than the kernels, but still afford 
about 3 per cent of ash to 7 per cent for the meal after the extraction 
of the oil. If the percentage of potash in the kernel and hull be 
determined before the extraction of the oil, the difference in quantity 
is not so great. The percentage of potash in the ash of the hulls is 
about 23, while in the ash of the meal it is slightly higher. By reason 
of the destruction of the nitrogenous constituents of the hulls in 
burning, the propriety of this process is questionable from an eco- 
nomic point of view, although, as was stated in the case of tobacco 
waste, both the potash and phosphoric acid of the ash become more 
quickly available after burning. 


The importance of wood ashes as a fertilizing principle has long 
been recognized, and the content of potash therein is one of the prin- 
cipal points to be considered in determining their fertilizing value. 
Unleached hard- wood ashes contain about 5.5 per cent of potash, 2 
per cent of phosphoric acid, and 34 per cent of lime. The potash in 
wood ashes exists chiefly in the form of carbonate. In leaching to 
obtain lye for soap-making purposes, the potassium carbonate is 
mostly removed. The leached ashes, however, retain a high fertiliz- 
ing value, both on account of the small quantity of potash which 
remains and also for the lime and phosphoric acid which they contain. 
There is no uniformity of composition in the wood ashes which are 
offered for sale for fertilizing purposes. It is necessary that each 
cargo be carefully sampled and analyzed in order to determine its 
fertilizing value. Farmers, in purchasing wood ashes, should secure 
a reliable certificate of their composition, showing at least the per- 
centages of potash and phosphoric acid which they contain. The 
application of wood ashes to a soil not only supplies valuable fertil- 
izing ingredients, but also, in the case of a stiff soil or one deficient 
in lime, exercises a marked ameliorating effect in respect of its phys- 
ical condition. Land treated liberally with wood ashes becomes more 
amenable to culture, is readily kept in good tilth, affords good drainage 


in wet, and retains moisture in dry, seasons. Injurious iron salts 
which are sometimes found in wet and sour lands are either rendered 
insoluble by the ash and thus innocuous or even changed to beneficial 
forms. A good wood-ash fertilizer, therefore, is usually worth more 
than would be indicated by its commercial value based upon its con- 
tent of potash and phosphoric acid. 


To one who has carefully read the foregoing pages it is hardly nec- 
essary to say that any fixed formula for a potash fertilizer is of little 
value. Where the field requires only an application of potash to 
complete a well-balanced ration for the crop, it is extremely easy to 
apply the appropriate quantity of the crude or concentrated potash 
salt. In general, it may be said that it is more economical to apply 
each one of the three essential plant foods separately as needed rather 
than to combine them into a single mixed fertilizer which shall contain 
the proper proportions of each ingredient. On the other hand, it 
may be urged in favor of a mixed fertilizer that it can be purchased 
already prepared and one application will be sufficient. When it is 
considered, however, that not only the demands of the soil but the 
nature of the crop are to be regarded, it is easy to see that the intel- 
ligent farmer who is aware of the needs of his fields is able to control 
the rations of the crops more accurately and economically by supply- 
ing the fertilizing ingredients separately. If, however, it be desired 
to apply a mixed fertilizer, it may either be made on the farm from 
the ingredients or purchased already prepared with a reliable guar- 
anty of composition. As an illustration of the method of preparing 
a mixed fertilizer, it may be said that if one is required containing 4 
per cent of potash, and the ordinary commercial kainite be the salt 
from which it is to be compounded, it will require 640 pounds of the 
commercial kainite to give the required quantity in a ton. In like 
manner, any desired percentage of potash from the ingredient at hand 
may be computed when the percentage of potash in that ingredient 
is known. 


Whether or not a given soil requires the addition of potash to 
secure its maximum fertility may be determined either by experiment 
or analysis. Whenever the total quantity of potash soluble in hot 
hydrochloric acid falls below 0.12 per cent, there is reason for assum- 
ing the need of potash fertilizers. The nature of the crop is also to 
be taken into consideration, since a soil having enough potash to pro- 
duce a fairly good yield of cereals might have too little of it to yield 
average harvests of tobacco or beets. 

Soils reclaimed from marshes and vegetable soils in general are 
deficient in potash. The bight sandy soils used for growing early 


vegetables, sweet potatoes, and melons are also uniformly deficient in 
potash. In both of these classes of soils the potash content soluble in 
hydrochloric acid often sinks to as little as 0.05 per cent or less. As 
the content of clay in soils increases it will be found, in general, that 
there is a corresponding increase in potash, since both clay and pot- 
ash are derived from the decay of silicates. But even in such soils, 
where chemical analysis reveals an apparently satisfactory quantity, 
the addition of small quantities of soluble potash salts supplies the 
conditions for a marked increase in fertility. The progressive farmer, 
therefore, will not fail to test the requirements of his field for potash 
by instituting small experimental plats which will give unbiased 
answers to his inquiries. 


The fertility of a field, in given meteorological conditions, is meas- 
ured not by its most abundant but by its weakest fertilizing princi- 
ple. The essential condition of the good results of potash when added 
as a fertilizer is that it completes a well-balanced ration. Only when 
the other necessary ingredients of the plant ration are present in 
proper proportions can it be expected to secure, from added potash, 
the maximum benefits. Unfortunately, this primary condition is too 
often neglected by our farmers, and so in one case we find them using 
a material which is already abundantly provided, or failing to secure 
its effects by neglecting the absence of its necessary coworkers. The 
contractor who should undertake to build a house and supply to his 
workmen nothing but saws is no more erratic than the farmer who 
would grow his crops with nothing but potash. 


It has been abundantly demonstrated that the beneficial effects of 
potash in the soil are greatly affected by lime. Lime in this respect 
plays a double role, serving both as an indispensable food of the plant 
and as a most necessary adjunct in those decompositions induced by 
biochemical action and without which plant nutrients could not 
assume their natural functions. It seems quite certain that in the 
decomposition of manurial salts under the combined influences of 
bacterial and biochemic activity, the separated acids would exert a 
fatal influence on vegetation were they not at once neutralized by an 
appropriate base. The lime, existing chiefly as carbonate, supplies 
this convenient base. In other words, the plant juices, being acid, 
absorb the decomposed base with greater avidity than the free acids, 
and as a result there is an excess of acidity of a mineral nature pro- 
duced in immediate contact with the most tender parts of the roots. 
The great function of the lime in the soil, aside from its mechanical 
effects, is, therefore, to neutralize this free acid and protect the plant 


xrom its injurious effects. It is certain that much of the acid thtis pro- 
duced is unnecessary for plant growth and is permanently withheld 
from entering the vegetable organism. The nitric and phosphoric 
acids are retained only long enough to permit of their proper absorp- 
tion, while the carbon dioxide which is produced escapes to enrich 
with this constituent the soil gases or to finally find its way into the 
ambient atmosphere. 

The production of organic acids, as a result of vegetable metabol- 
ism, also renders unnecessary much of the mineral acids' with which 
the bases found in plants are combined in the soil. The presence in 
a soil of a large quantity of a base which can neutralize these rejected 
acids is therefore an absolute condition of vigorous plant growth. 

Further, it must not be forgotten that the addition of potash salts 
to the soil causes, to a certain extent, a loss of lime. In the mutual 
reactions which take place in the soil, alkaline silicates are formed 
from the sulphates and chlorides of the alkalies. A quantity of lime 
corresponding to these is converted into sulphates and chlorides, and 
is removed by the usual processes of leaching. By computation it is 
found that the addition of one hundred parts of kainite to a soil will 
cause a loss of at least forty parts of lime, aside from other quantities 
which may enter the crop or be changed in such way as to be no longer 
valuable. It is therefore safe to assume that for every pound of crude 
potash salt added to the. soil there will be a loss of a corresponding 
weight of lime. A judicious addition of lime, therefore, to a lime- 
poor soil is a necessity when the best results of adding potash are to 
be secured. 

The addition of potash salts to a heavy soiL that is, one having an 
excess of clay, tends often to make it more impervious and imperme- 
able. In such cases their use, even when the soil demands them, may 
be more injurious than beneficial. These unfavorable effects may be 
completely prevented by the generous application of lime. 


Poor drainage is sufficient to neutralize all the good effects which 
may be produced in a field by the application of needed potash. In 
this case, as with other fertilizing materials, the proper culture and 
aeration of the soil are imperative. To apply fertilizers to a field 
saturated with water and deprived of means for its outflow is only 
a mark of poor judgment and a waste of good money. 


What kind of potash fertilizer is best in any given case depends on 
two factors, viz, economy and the requirement of the crop. In locali- 
ties where freights are low, it is evident that the erude salts, as they 
come from the mines, are the most economical for all crops, save such as 


tobacco, grapes, etc., which require a special compound. In case 
the salt has to be carried to a great distance, and at high rates of 
freight, it is advisable to make use of the concentrated compounds. 
The kainite of commerce contains about 12.5 per cent of potash, while 
a high-grade sulphate will have 50 per cent. One ton of the sulphate 
will therefore contain as much potash as 4 tons of kainite. 

The actual cost of potash per unit is readily calculated in each case. 
If the kainite cost $10 per ton, including freight, the farmer can afford 
to pay $40 for the sulphate, and will save the handling of 3 tons of 
material. In all cases the price per ton of the salt should be consid- 
ered in connection with its content of potash. With the exception 
of tobacco, grapes, and a few other crops of minor importance, the 
form of combination of the potash salt is not important. For 
tobacco, the salts containing potash as chloride are to be excluded. 
Sulphate and carbonate of potash are the salts which the tobacco 
growers should apply. In some cases, for intensive culture in gardens 
or pots, it is advisable to use the most concentrated plant foods. In 
these instances the cost of the fertilizer is of little importance. Two 
salts representing a highly concentrated food are the phosphate and 
nitrate of potash. The commercial potassium phosphate employed 
for fertilizing purposes contains from 36 to 38 per cent of soluble 
phosphoric acid and from 26 to 28 per cent of potash. The pure salt, 
K 2 HP0 4 , contains 40.81 per cent of phosphoric acid and 54.01 per 
cent of potash. 

Since most crops require a larger quantity of potash than of phos- 
phoric acid, it is seen that the use of commercial potassium phosphate 
would entail a loss of the former in order to secure a sufficient quan- 
tity of the latter. For instance, sugar beets require three times as 
much and cereal crops nearly twice as much potash as phosphoric 
acid. If, therefore, this highly concentrated salt be employed for 
intensive culture, it should be supplemented by a considerable quan- 
tity of high-grade potash salt containing no phosphoric acid. If, 
however, the salt be applied to a soil rich in available potash and 
poor in phosphoric acid, the above objection to its use would not 

Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is another example of a concentrated 
plant food. For intensive culture, a mixture of potassium phosphate 
and nitrate is an ideal ration, when it. is desired to supply in a highly 
available form the three most essential elements of plant food. The 
high cost of saltpeter confines its use solely to experimental plats. 
Even when mineral salts, in the forms in which they are found in the 
ash, are supplied to plants, it is doubtful whether they play any impor- 
tant role in vegetable growth without suffering decomposition. It is 
certain that the silicates of the soil containing potash are decomposed 
by the biochemical activity of vegetable life, and there are many rea- 
sons for believing that when phosphate of potash is applied as a 


fertilizer and is afterwards found in the ash, it has, in transit, suffered 
a complete decomposition and recomposition under the powerful agen- 
cies of vegetable metabolism. 


Experience has shown that certain crops are unfavorably affected 
by the use of crude potash salts, and that the cause of this injury 
resides in the potassium and other chlorides which they contain. This 
injury does not consist in a diminution of the quantity of the crop, 
but in its quality. The tobacco plant is the most striking example of 
this influence. When tobacco is fertilized with crude potash salts or 
with the muriate, the chlorine contained therein is absorbed in large 
quantities and, on burning, an ash is obtained showing an excess of 
chlorides. By reason of the easy fusibility of the chlorides, the burn- 
ing properties of the tobacco are greatly impaired. Some experi- 
menters claim that an excess of sulphates in the ash is also an 
injury, but authorities are not agreed on this. 

In like manner, the application of chlorides to vineyards tends to 
diminish the content of sugar in the grapes, and thus impairs the 
quality of the wine. 

In the case of sugar beets, the use of highly chlorinated fertilizers 
is of doubtful propriety, save on sandy soils, where kainite may be 
most freely used without fear of injury. 

Potatoes also may have their content of starch somewhat diminished 
by a too free use of crude potash salts containing large quantities of 

On the other hand, it is quite certain that the kainite, which is com- 
paratively poor in chlorine, may be safely supplemented by carnallite, 
very rich in chlorine, for all cereal and leguminous crops, while for 
tobacco and all sugar or root starch crops it is safer to employ the 
salts poor in chlorine. 


The losses which stall manure suffers when exposed without care 
for its conservation are well known. It is estimated that, in general, 
where no precautions are taken nearly one-third of the humus-form- 
ing material in stall manure is lost before it reaches the field. For a 
full-grown steer or horse, this means at least a loss of 2,000 pounds 
of humus during a year. Of the nitrogenous substances, in similar 
conditions, one-quarter is lost, corresponding to at least 200 pounds 
of chile saltpeter a year for each horse or cow. Calculated to a 
money value, these figures mean a loss of over $5 a year for each full- 
grown animal. 

These losses may be, in a great measure, prevented by covering 
the stall manure with layers of earth or with earth mixed with gypsum 
or crude potash salts. Earth covering alone, however, prevents very 
12 a96 9 


little of the loss in organic substance, although quite efficient as a nitro- 
gen preserver. 

When stall manures are sprinkled or mixed with kainite, the fer- 
mentative processes are partially arrested, the manure is preserved in 
a fresh state, there is little or no loss of organic matter, and the nitro- 
gen content of the mass suffers but little loss. 

By reason of the fact, however, that the stall manure is preserved 
from decay, it is evident that it can not give its maximum benefit 
to the first crop grown. If, for instance, the first crop grown after 
applying the fertilizer be potatoes, and the next a cereal, such as 
wheat or barley, the maximum effect of the application of the stall 
manure will be felt in the second crop. When an immediate effect is 
desired, therefore, it is better to preserve the stall manure by means 
of superphosphate or a covering of earth, while if the secondary effect 
is of more importance, the preserving material should be kainite. 

Practical farmers should not forget these facts in selecting materials 
for preserving stall manure. Kainite, however, is inferior to carbon 
disulphide and sulphuric acid as a preserving agent. 

Further, experience has shown that stall manures preserved with 
kainite are far more effective on light than on heavy soils. In a light, 
sandy soil stall manures preserved Avith kainite give a far better result 
than when other means of conservation are employed. In light soils 
the decomposing influences of aeration and attendant fermentation go 
on much more rapidly than in stiff and impervious soils, and for this 
reason the practically undecomposed stall manures which have been 
preserved by kainite rapidly undergo fermentation and yield to the 
plant those elements best suited to its rapid evolution. 

It happens also that sandy soils are, as a rule, deficient in potash, 
and therefore the kainite used as a preserving material finds a direct 
application as a plant food in a locality where it is most needed. 

Experience has further shown that basic phosphatic slags, which 
are cheaper than superphosphates, are peculiarly well suited to light, 
sandy soils, and this fact renders the use of superphosphate as a pre- 
server of stall manures destined for sandy soils less important. The 
practical farmer will see, from these facts, that for such soils he will 
receive the largest returns by the application of stall manure preserved 
by kainite, in conjunction with basic phosphatic slags. 

It is further to be noted that the preserving influence of the kainite 
is destroyed when the manure is diluted by incorporation with the soil, 
and that the activity of the ferments, which had been suspended by 
the application of the kainite, is restored and invigorated by mixing 
with a light soil, affording a most abundant aeration. 


In the application of potash fertilizers, the farmer must take into 
consideration, not only the character of the soil, but also the nature 


of the crop and the meteorological conditions likely to obtain. In 
general it may be said that where excessive rains are not expected 
it is better to apply potash fertilizers in the autumn. In certain 
soils, potash, as well as other salts, such as sodium chloride and chile 
saltpeter, produce a kind of cementation or hardening which greatly 
interferes with the subsequent circulation of air and moisture and 
with the distribution of the rootlets of the growing crop. This un- 
favorable condition is brought about by the hygroscopic nature of 
the added substances, whereby each particle of salt attracts a suffi- 
cient quantity of moisture to thoroughly wet the particles of soil in 
immediate contact therewith. On drying, especially in soils contain- 
ing certain proportions of clay and sand, a true mortar or cement is 
produced. Certain soils may become so hard by this means on the 
addition of large quantities of saline materials as to resist the blows 
of a pick. To such soils potash salts should never be added in the 
spring, but only in the autumn, whereby the cementation produced is 
usually completely disintegrated by the winter's frosts. The evil 
effects mentioned above may also be prevented in most cases by the 
liberal use of lime, which, by reason of its well-known property of 
forming compounds less likely to produce compact particles, will hold 
the soil in a porous state. 

It is advisable, therefore, to always use lime in conjunction with 
large quantities of potash, especially in soils having a tendency to 
become compact and impervious. In intensive culture it is safe to 
use as much as two tons of kainite per acre, if double that quantity 
of lime be added at the same time. 

Where only small quantities of potash are applied, as, for instance, 
a quantity representing 30 or 40 pounds of pure potash per acre, 
there is not much danger in applying it in the spring. It must be 
remembered, however, that potash salts in direct contact with seeds 
exert a retarding influence on germination by reason of their tending 
to absorb moisture, and probably also from a slightly corroding or 
germicidal effect which they may produce. Care should therefore be 
exercised in applying these salts to prevent, as far as possible, their 
direct action on seeds of feeble vitality. In general it is advisable, 
however, in the spring, wherever practicable, to apply the fertilizer 
from two to four weeks before planting the crop, and to have it 
thoroughly distributed through the soil by the plow and harrow. As 
a rule, top-dressing with potash salts is not to be recommended, 
except for meadows and lawns, and sometimes for the spring fertil- 
ization of cereals. In some cases, where the fertilizer has not been 
incorporated with the soil by previous cultivating, top-dressing at the 
time of planting or immediately thereafter is advisable. 

Top-dressing is also necessary in those cases where it is not advis- 
able to apply the whole of the fertilizing material at once. Espe- 
cially in the cultivation of sugar beets and tobacco is it desirable to 
apply a final portion of the potassic fertilizer in the earlier periods of 
cultivation. Top-dressing with potash salts, it is easy to see, becomes 


useless unless the material is carried down to the rootlets by heavy 
rains or deep cultivation. In top-dressing, the salts should be applied 
in as fine a state of subdivision as possible. Good judgment and a 
wise adaptation to local conditions are as necessary in potash fertil- 
izing as in other agricultural operations, and any attempt to fix rules 
for guidance in all cases would be useless and misleading. 


In the foregoing pages the uses of potash as an essential and indis- 
pensable plant food have been briefly noted. It has been seen that 
without the aid of this food no plant can make a normal growth or 
reach maturity. There is no other mineral substance or combina- 
tion of such substances that can act as an acceptable substitute for 
it. There are, however, many indirect effects of potash salts which 
must not be overlooked. Some of these have already been noted, as, 
for instance, the tendency in certain cases to form concrete masses 
and to retard the germination of seeds of low vitality. There are 
other indirect effects of these salts which are not injurious, but, on 
the contrary, advantageous and worthy of notice. 


The hygroscopic nature of these salts, already noted, serves to keep 
the soil moist, and thus, in seasons of drought, it may help secure for 
the crop a more abundant supply of water. This property is fully 
illustrated by determining the moisture in two samples of the same 
soil, one with and one without potash salts. In data secured in one 
instance, at different times, the quantities of moisture found in the 
two samples were as follows: 




March 18... 


August 1... 
October 18. 

Per cent of 



Per cent of 





From the above table the marked difference in moisture in the two 
samples during the summer and autumn is quite instructive. It is 
true that a soil impregnated with kainite would give up its moisture 
less readily to a growing plant than one free of that salt, but there is 
no doubt that a soil containing kainite, with 13 per cent moisture, would 
be able to supply water to a plant more readily than a soil free of 
kainite and containing only 2 per cent of moisture. 


The influence which potash salts exert on mineral matters left in 
the soil has already been noticed. By the double decompositions 


which they form with the lime and other bases locked up in silicates, 
they tend to promote the decomposition of those bodies, and thus to 
add large quantities of mineral matters, including potash, to the 
available stores of the soil. This favorable action of potash salts is 
one which should be considered in making a summary of the indirect 
action of potash fertilization. This solvent action is not shared by 
potash salts alone, but soda salts may also secure, to a certain extent, 
the same result. For this reason, it is quite probable that the claims 
which have been made by many, to the effect that soda may replace 
potash in agriculture, have been based on the solvent action of the 
soda setting free additional quantities of potash which have become 
available. This solvent action, however, may not in all cases be 
advantageous, inasmuch as the decomposition may be so extended, 
when combined with the absorption of the separated bases by the 
plants, as to leave the acids with which the bases were originally 
combined in a free state in the soil. In this way, unless an excess of 
calcium carbonate be present, the free acids may exert an injurious 


It has been noticed that the liberal application of potash fertiliz- 
ers, especially the crude salts, lessens to a certain extent the injuries 
which the crop may suffer from frost. This is an item of considerable 
importance, especially in the case of tobacco, which is often greatly 
injured by frost in the early autumn. The cause of the protection 
which kainite, for instance, offers to plants against frost is found in 
two sources. In the first place, on account of the hygroscopic nature 
of the salt the moisture of the soil is more securely held and there is 
a less rapid evaporation. One of the prime conditions of the forma- 
tion of frost is a rapid evaporation and consequent cooling of the sur- 
face of the soil. Anything which prevents this, of course, tends to 
diminish the intensity of the frost. In the second case, the presence 
of a potash fertilizer produces a more luxuriant vegetation, and thus 
secures a more perfect cover of the soil, affording in this manner a less 
rapid evaporation. These two causes combined undoubtedly have a 
tendency to diminish the danger from frost to which a crop may be 


The addition of large quantities of potash salts to a soil has a ten- 
dency in certain cases to retard the process of nitrification, which, 
as is well known, does not proceed as vigorously in solutions of cer- 
tain salts. The potash salts in this case exercise something of the 
same influence, as will be mentioned below, in acting as a germi- 
cide. It is not difficult to see that in most cases this action would not 
be prejudicial. On the contrary, where there is a tendency to the 
overproduction of nitric acid by a too vigorous action of the fer- 
ments, the presence of potash salts would be beneficial. As a rule, 
however, it must be confessed that this retardation of the process of 


nitrification is to be avoided as much as possible, and this can be 
secured by a moderate use only of potash fertilizers. 


The property possessed by large quantities of potash salts of pre- 
venting the ravages of insects and the occurrence of certain diseases 
has long been noticed. It has been shown that in the case of cotton 
the leaf blight is largely if not entirely prevented by the free use of 
kainite, and at the same time the yield of cotton is increased. It is 
claimed by some entomologists that potash in large quantities is effect- 
ive against plant lice of all kinds and against any naked larvae and the 
wire worms on potatoes and cabbages. Its greatest usefulness as an 
insecticide is said to be with those pests that live in the ground and 
around the roots of the plants. The retarding effect which potash- 
salts have on germination is more than compensated for by their effect 
upon cutworms and other insects which infest plants at the period of 
their germination. It is believed that kainite is the best form in which 
potash salts can be used when their insecticidal or disease-preventing 
properties are to be considered. It must be remembered, in connec- 
tion with this statement, that it is not the universal experience of 
entomologists that kainite is a successful insecticide. It probably 
varies in its action, and in all cases where used for insecticidal pxir- 
poses it must be applied in larger qtiantities than would be necessary 
for its merely manurial value. The weight of authority, however, is 
perhaps in favor of the use of kainite for the purpose mentioned 
above. Attempts to control or prevent peach yellows by the use of 
kainite have shown it to have no value for that purpose. 


1. The potash used in fertilizers and found in the soil has been 
derived from the decay of minerals containing it as an ingredient, 
and chiefly from feldspars. 

2. During the progress of weathering, a portion of the potash in 
original rocks becomes soluble and is lost by lixiviation. As a rule, 
about 25 per cent of the potash finds its way by this means into the 
streams and seas. 

3. There is usually a less percentage of potash in the finer particles of 
soil than in the coarser particles, and this is due to the fact that the sol- 
vent action of water is more strongly exerted upon the finer particles. 

4. The potash is quite evenly distributed both in the soil and sub- 
soil, there being only a slightly greater proportion in the deeper 
layers, doubtless due to the fact that they have not been so thoroughly 

5. The solubility of potash in the soil is very different for different 
solvents, being the least for the weak organic acids and greatest for 
the strong mineral acids. Hot hydrochloric acid extracts from the 


soil about 20 per cent of its total potash, content, which is about thirty- 
two times as much as is removed by a 1 per cent citric acid solution. 

6. A fertile virgin soil contains about 2 per cent of total potash, or 
about 70,000 pounds per acre taken to the depth of 1 foot. A crop 
removing 50 pounds of potash a year could be grown consecutively 
for about one thousand four hundred years on such a soil before 
exhausting all the potash which it contains. 

7. The soil retains a certain quantity of fertilizing material with 
such tenacity as to render it practically impossible for plants to with- 
draw the whole of it, thus protecting the future against the rapacity 
of the present. 

8. The quantity of potash removed by various crops per annum 
varies greatly. The largest quantities are removed by beets, and the 

.smallest quantities by cereals and cotton. Beets may remove as 
much as 100 pounds per acre, cereals about 30 pounds, and cotton 
about 23 pounds for the average crops as produced in this country. 
In Germany, beets grown for forage remove often over 200 pounds 
of potash per acre from the soil, clover hay about 74 pounds, and 
tobacco the same quantity. 

9. Tobacco contains a larger proportion of potash than any other 
common crop, viz, about 40 parts per thousand of the dry leaves. For- 
age beets contain 35, potatoes 20, sugar beets 18, clover hay 19, beans 
13, and cereals 5 parts per thousand. 

10. There is about four times as much potash in the straw of cereals 
as in the grains, while in peas and beans the proportion is about as 
two to one. 

11. A soil which yields about 0.01 per cent of potash to a 1 per cent 
citric acid solution and contains about 0.30 per cent soluble in hydro- 
chloric acid does not usually need a potash fertilizer. 

1.2. The potash salts which supply the commercial potash fertilizers 
of the world have been deposited as the result of the evaporation of 
saline lakes charged with potassic materials. 

13. The commercial potash of the world is derived almost exclu- 
sively from the neighborhood of Stassfurt, in Germany. The quan- 
tity of crude salts annually mined is about three-quarters of a million 
tons, worth nearly three million dollars. 

14. The high-grade commercial salts used for fertilizing purposes 
are manufactured from the crude salts, and are to be preferred when 
shipments are made to great distances and at high rates' of freight. 

15. The principal crude potash salts used for fertilizing purposes 
are kainite, containing 12.5 per cent of potash, and carnallite, con- 
taining 9.9 per cent. 

16. Tobacco waste, cotton-seed hulls, and wood ashes also furnish 
important quantities of potash for fertilizing purposes. 

17. Recovered marsh or swamp lands and lands containing large 
quantities of sand need, almost universally, potash fertilizer. The 
percentage of potash in soils usually rises with their content of clay. 


18. The maximum effect from fertilization with potash is secured 
only when other plant foods are supplied in such a way as to make 
a well-balanced ration, and where proper methods of culture are 

19. Lime is an important adjunct to potash fertilization, and, as a 
rule, should be added to a soil in large quantities wherever potash is 

20. The best kind of potash fertilizer is determined by local condi- 
tions, freights, and the nature of the soil and crop. Fertilizers con- 
taining considerable quantities of chlorine should never be applied to 
vineyards and tobacco fields. 

21. In intensive pot or garden culture, where highly concentrated 
plant foods are desired and where the cost of the fertilizer is unim- 
portant, potash may be applied in the form of phosphate or nitrate. 

22. In some soils potash salts, in common with other saline bodies, 
produce injurious effects by reason of their hygroscopic nature, 
attracting moisture and, on drying, producing a cementation of the 
soil, which renders it impervious to water and impenetrable by the 
rootlets of plants. 

23. Crude potash salts can be applied with benefit in the preserva- 
tion of stall manure, but their A r alue for this purpose is perhaps 

24. Potash fertilizers should, as a rule, be applied in the autumn, 
or at least from two to four weeks before planting, and should be 
thoroughly worked into the deeper part of the soil in order to come 
into contact with the rootlets of the plant. 

25. The germination of seeds, especially if they have a low vitality, 
is retarded by bringing them into direct contact with potash salts. 

2G. The application of crude potash salts to a soil which is not 
easily cemented may be useful during a dry season by reason of their 
power of attracting and holding moisture. 

27. Potash salts favor the decomposition of mineral particles in the 
soil, and thus tend to add to the stores of plant food therein. 

28. The application of crude potash salts to the soil tends to protect 
the crop from frosts by preventing the too rapid evaporation of mois- 
ture and by producing a more luxuriant foliage. 

29. The too abundant application of potash to the soil may become 
injurious by reason of the retardation of the process of nitrification 
which it produces. 

30. Crude potash salts, especially kainite, when added abundantly 
to a soil, are said to act, to a certain extent, as an insecticide or a 
preventive of disease, and when mixed with stable manure act as a 
preservative by checking the activity of the denitrifying ferments. 

31. It is impracticable to give formulas for the preparation of fer- 
tilizers containing potash, since both the quantity of potash to be used 
and the form in which it should be applied are determined by local 
conditions, which can not be taken into account in the preparation of 
directions for the use of fertilizers. 


By V. K. Chesnut, 
Assistant, Division of Botany, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


The plants commonly looked upon as poisonous are those which 
through general experience, history, or tradition have long been 
known to produce some ill effect upon animal life. The number 
recognized in any country tends, therefore, to be proportional, not only 
to the variety of its flora, but also to the antiquity of its civilization; 
and the popular estimation of the virulence of any particular plant 
depends in great measure upon the number of its victims as well as 
upon the rapidity and violence of its effects. The literature of these 
plants is filled with allusions to species growing in Hindostan and the 
Greek and Roman provinces, and history teaches how certain species, 
such as the peach (for its pits and leaves) and the hemlock, came to 
be especially dreaded by the ancients on account of their extensive 
use in putting state criminals to death. The literature of Europe 
contains the names of over three hundred and fifty plants which, in 
that quarter of the globe, have been known to produce ill effects 
upon man or animals, while in North America there are only a few 
which have been generally recognized as poisonous, and these grow 
mostly in the eastern and more thickly settled half of the continent. 
Very little is known concerning those which are native to the region 
west of the Mississippi River. Those chiefly reported in the news- 
papers throughout the United States are poison ivy, the so-called 
"wild parsnip," and certain fleshy fungi commonly known as toad- 
stools. It is true, however, that a considerable number of plants 
should, at least provisionally, be ranked as poisonous in the flora of 
a comparatively new country, such as the United States. It is a fair 
presumption that every plant is poisonous which is very closely re- 
lated to a species recognized as virulent in other countries. It is pru- 
dent, also, to suspect all plants popularly supposed to produce ill 
effects, regardless of the results of analyses hitherto made, for the 
chemical and biological investigation of plant poisons is as yet too little 
advanced to furnish conclusive data in all cases. 

There are several causes which tend in the United States and 
elsewhere to an underestimate of the number of poisonous plants. 



In the absence of statistics, objection is made to an increase in the 
number of ill-reputed species for aesthetic reasons, and on the ground 
that plants exist for consumption by animals, arid can not therefore 
be poisonous. These ideas are wholly without scientific foundation 
and are deplorably misleading; indeed, instances might be cited where 
men have nearly sacrificed their lives in attempting to verify the sup- 
posed innocent nature of certain plants which authorities have de- 
clared harmless. Yet, it is impossible to refute these ideas all at once, 
on account of the apparent uncertainties and contradictions which 
the subject presents to the novice. A full acquaintance, however, 
with the preparation of drugs and with their action upon animals 
removes many of these uncertain factors. 

It is characteristic of organisms, both plant and animal, that their 
elements are slowly but constantly undergoing chemical changes. 
During health these changes take place naturally and afford heat and 
nourishment. In sickness they take place with greater or less rapid- 
ity, according to the chemical nature of the compounds involved in 
the disease, and are modified by the proper application of drugs. 
Poisons differ from foods and medicines mostly in the rapidity, but 
also to some degree in the character, of the chemical changes which 
they produce. They are therefore to be considered as substances 
which are unstable or extremely liable to change. This fact has 
always been recognized to a limited extent by experts, but it has only 
somewhat recently become known that certain plant poisons are 
destroyed even by the addition of alcohol, or by simply heating to a 
temperature of 60° C. Thus, the poison is subject to destruction in 
the process of analysis. Further than this, it may not exist in the 
part analyzed; and, moreover, the amount varies greatly in the same 
species, according to climate and the conditions of soil and season. 

Again, the susceptibility of animals differs greatly. Some are little, 
if at all, affected by poison taken in quantities which, judging from 
the effects produced on others, should cause instant death. This may 
be due to differences in physiological functions, in character of food, 
or in natural or acquired habits. It is well known, for example, that 
large quantities of certain poisons, such as strychnine, opium, and 
arsenic, can be taken with impunity by man after the long-continued 
use of small doses. May not this endurance of certain animals be ex- 
plained on analogous grounds ? Other factors which determine differ- 
ences of action are age, sex, temperament, and idiosyncrasy; the 
latter explains why strawberries are poisonous to some individuals. . 

In the widest sense, therefore, all those plants should be classed as 
poisonous which have ever produced ill effects accidentally, and not 
those alone which the combined knowledge of the botanist, the chemist, 
and the animal expert has proved to be such. Especially should 
this view be taken in a new country, and in the case of plants likely 
to tempt the appetite. By this cautious attitude the dangerous plants 



can be ascertained and antidotes be determined without repeated 
sacrifice of life and property. 

Chemistry has already rendered much service in explaining the 
obscure behavior of some of these poisonous plants, and it is believed 
that recent discoveries will point out the true character of some spe- 
cies which have hitherto baffled all scientific progress. 


The poison ivy (Rhus radicans) occurs abundantly throughout 
the United States east of the Great Plains, and in greater or less 
abundance throughout the less 
arid regions of the West, with the 
exception of California, where it 
appears to be entirely wanting 
in all localities. It grows every- 
where in the open brush, in 
ravines, and on the borders of 
woods, and it spreads along road- 
sides and cultivated fields from 
seeds carried by crows and other 
birds which feed upon its fruit. 
It is generally a climbing vine, 
but if no support is at hand it 
either trails along the ground or 
sends up short vertical shoots. 
(Fig. 24.) 

Besides one near Western rel- 
ative, which is almost as poison- 
ous, there are no other plants 
which resemble it closely except- 
ing the nonpoisonous box elder, 
the leaves of which bear a strik- 
ing resemblance to those of the 
ivy. It is only in its seedling 
stage, however, and when growing along hedges, that the box elder 
could be taken for ivy. The Virginia creeper, also nonpoisonous, is 
sometimes mistaken for the poison ivy, but it is easily distinguished 
by having five, instead of three, leaflets, all of which spread out from 
a common point, like the fingers of the hand. 

Perhaps no plant is more popularly recognized as harmful than the 
poison ivy. Its effects upon the human skin are familiar to everyone, 
and as its victims far outnumber those of all other species combined it 
has come to be regarded as the principal poisonous plant of America. 
Some of its other common names are poison oak, poison vine, and 
mercury. Its nearest relative is a plant known to botanists as Rhus 
diver siloba (fig. 25), which grows in similar situations at low altitudes 

Fig. 24. — Poison ivy (Rhus radicans). 


throughout the Pacific Coast from Lower California to Canada and 
northward. Western people call it poison oak because the leaves, 
though very unlike those of the common Eastern oaks, bear a con- 
siderable resemblance to the common species of the West. The leaves 
differ in size, as well as in shape, from those of the poison ivy. Ranked 
together in the same genus are two other poisonous plants, which, 
although they produce the same effect upon the skin, are yet totally 
different in their gross appearance, being thus more closely allied to 
the sumac or nonpoisonous species of the group. Only one of these 
is at all common, and that is the poison sumac {Rhus vernix), which 
is found growing in swamps from Florida to Canada and westward to 

the Mississippi Valley. It is a 
shrub or small tree, 6 to 18 feet in 
height, with long pinnate leaves 
having from 7 to 13 smoothly pol- 
ished leaflets. It is also commonly 
known as " poison dogwood, " " poi- 
son ash," and "poison elder." 
(Fig. 26.) The other poisonous 
sumac (Rhus michauxii) is a rare 
shrub, recently rediscovered in 
North Carolina. 

Poison ivy has long been regarded 
by the ignorant with a degree of 
awe akin to superstition. No one 
was able to tell how it produced its 
effects, and why it attacked some 
people and not others. Mysterious 
principles were relied upon to ex- 
plain the phenomena, and up to the 
present time the common belief has 
been that the poisonous constituent 
was really, an exhalation from the 
plant. In the latter part of the last 
century it was so regarded by the 
expert; then, as our knowledge of plant chemistry advanced step by 
step, it was attributed more concretely to a specific gas, a volatile alka- 
loid, and a volatile acid like formic acid. More recently still, bacteria 
have been accused of causing the affection. Experiments have seemed 
to verify these ideas in turn, but the falsity of all has at last been proved 
by the discovery of a more tangible compound. In January, 1895, 
Dr. Franz Pfaff, of Harvard University, announced that the poison 
is in reality a nonvolatile oil. Numerous experiments have been per- 
formed with the purified oil, and it has been shown to produce exactly 
the same effects as the plant itself. Dr. Pfaff has called this substance 
"toxicodendrol." It is found in all parts of the plant, even in the 

Fig. 25. — Poison oak (Rhus diversiloba). 



wood after long drying. Like all oils, it is insoluble in water, and 
therefore can not be washed from the skin with water alone. Alcohol 
dissolves it readily. Alkalies saponify it, and thus render it inert, but 
this result is more easily obtained by an alcoholic solution of the sugar 
of lead (lead acetate). Numerous experiments show that when the 
smallest amount of this oil is applied to the skin it is very gradually 
absorbed in the course of a few days, and that within certain limits the 
longer it remains upon the skin the greater will be the effect produced. 

In an experiment performed by the writer at the Department of 
Agriculture the oil was applied to four spots on the wrist and care- 
fully kept from spreading to other parts of the body. At the end of 
an hour one of these spots was well washed with successive treatments 
of pure alcohol; in three hours 
another was washed clean in the 
same manner; the other two were 
allowed to remain three hours 
longer. The effect produced on the 
first spot was very slight; that on 
the second was more marked, but 
did not equal the effect produced 
on the other two, which was about 
equal. The affected places were all 
within an inch of each other, but 
all remained wholly distinct, a cir- 
cumstance which very clearly shows 
that the affection is not spread 
through the agency of the blood. 
Subsequent applications of an alco- 
holic solution of the sugar of lead 
gave immediate and permanent 
relief. In practice it is not desira- 
ble to use strong alcohol, which is 
apt to be too irritating to a sensi- 
tive surface, but a weaker grade of 
from 50 to 75 per cent should be preferred, and to this the powdered 
sugar of lead is to be added until no more will dissolve. The milky 
fluid should then be well rubbed into the affected skin, and the oper- 
ation repeated several times during the course of a few days. The 
itching is at once relieved and the further progress of the malady 
is checked. The remedy has been tried in a large number of cases 
and has always proved successful, but it must be remembered that it 
is itself a poison when taken into the mouth. 

Poison ivy being so great a public nuisance, it is strange that no 
legal measures have ever been carried out to suppress its growth. 
Municipalities protect their people against diseased food by the 
appointment of inspection agents, and farming communities defend 

Fig. 36.— Poison sumac (Rhus vemix). 


themselves against the ravages of animals by bounties. Why should 
not this plant in some way be provided against, especially now that 
its poisonous nature and its antidote are so exactly known ? Much 
would be accomplished if the owners of suburban places of popular 
resort were compelled to weed out the vine from their premises. The 
regulation might also be made to cover its destruction along the 
country roadsides. 


The American species of water hemlock (Gicuta maculata) is by far 
the most virulent plant native in the .United States. (Fig. 27. ) It is 
found growing at low elevations, along streams and ponds, and in 
marshy ground throughout the eastern portion of the continent, not 
extending apparently very far west of the Great Lakes. It is peren- 
nial in duration and grows to a height of from 4 to 8 feet. In some 
river marshes it is so extremely abundant that in early summer 
the landscape is whitened by its bloom. It belongs to the well- 
known parsley family, and may easily be distinguished by its fasci- 
cled, spindled-shaped roots, which are from 1^ to 3 inches in length, 
and by the trellised structure of the underground portion of its 
main stem. Both of these parts are strongly impregnated with a 
yellow, aromatic, oily fluid, which has an odor resembling that of 
the parsnip. A few of the common names by which the plant is 
known in various localities are, water hemlock, wild hemlock, beaver 
poison, musquash root, muskrat weed, cowbane, and children's bane. 
It is frequently mentioned in the newspapers under the erroneous 
name of "wild parsnip." The plant is closely allied to the less com- 
mon and somewhat less virulent poison hemlock ( Conium maculaturn) 
with which Socrates was put to death, but it has several nearer rela- 
tives equally poisonous with itself. Cicuta virosa, the species which 
is particularly dreaded in Europe, probably does not occur in the 
United States; C. bulbifera is found from Indiana to Delaware; C. 
vagans in Washington, Oregon, and northern California, and C. bolan- 
deri in California. All grow best in damp, marshy places, and closely 
resemble one another in external appearance and toxic properties. 

The victims of these plants are chiefly but not exclusively herbiv- 
orous animals. The underground portions are the most poisonous, 
and as these are often washed, frozen, or dug out of the soil during 
winter and early spring, they are sometimes eaten by children and by 
animals, the former mistaking -the roots of the American water hem- 
lock for horse-radish, parsnips, artichokes, sweet cicely, or other edible 
roots, the animals eating the various kinds because they are among 
the first green substances to appear in the spring. In marshes where 
any of the species is abundant, cattle are also said to be poisoned by 
drinking the water which has stood in contact with roots that have 
been crushed by being trampled upon. The poisonous constituent 



resides in the aromatic oily fluid already mentioned. This fluid has 
not been thoroughly analyzed in the case of the American water hem- 
lock, but it is highly probable that besides conine all the species con- 
tain cicutoxine, a resinous substance which is characteristic of the 
water hemlock of Europe and is much more poisonous than the alka- 
loid conine. Cicutoxine was discovered in 1875, and has since been 
shown by animal experimentation to produce the same symptoms as 
the plant itself. 

No estimate can be made of the amount of damage done to live stock 
by these various species, but it is not insignificant. The human vic- 
tims of the American water hemlock probably average a considerable 
number per annum. In the 
State of New Jersey alone 
two quadruple cases of poison- 
ing were reported during the 
spring of 1896, which resulted 
in the death of two individuals. 
Falck, a German authority, re- 
ports a 45 per cent fatality in 
thirty-one cases of water-hem- 
lock poisoning occurring in Eu- 

The symptoms of poisoning 
are vomiting, colicky pains, stag- 
gering, unconsciousness, gnash- 
ing of the teeth, and frightful 
epileptiform fits, ending in 
death. As no chemical antidote 
is known, the treatment must 
consist in a thorough cleansing 
of the alimentary canal and in 
combating the symptoms as they 
arise by the use of chloroform, 
chloral, and such agents as seem 
to be indicated at the time. 
Herbivorous animals which have 
swallowed a sufficient dose generally die, but they are sometimes 
saved by two or three doses of melted lard, which tends to retard the 
absorption of the poison in the stomach, and also facilitates its expul- 
sion through the intestines. 

One case will show the general nature of the symptoms. At Bound- 
brook, N. J., in March, 1896, two boys and two girls, while returning 
from school for lunch, stopped to look at some workmen digging a 
ditch. One of the girls spied some water-hemlock roots which had 
been thrown out of the ditch and which she took to be horse-radish. 
More were soon found by the others and, as they proved somewhat 
agreeable to the taste, all ate of them to a greater or less extent. 
After arriving home, but before finishing luncheon, one of the girls 

Fig. 27. — American water hemlock {Cicuta macu- 
lata). . 


was taken violently ill with dizziness and nausea, and was soon in 
convulsions. A physician was summoned immediately, but the girl 
died shortly after his arrival. The others were affected in the same 
way but not so violently, and they were final ly saved by skillful 
treatment. The species was determined from specimens sent to the 
Department of Agriculture and from plants grown from these roots. 


The death cup {Amanita phalloides) is the most poisonous of all the 
fleshy fungi. (Fig. 28.) It is found in summer and autumn through- 
out the greater part of the United States, 
growing upon the ground in the woods at 
medium and lower elevations. The stem 
is white. When young it is solid, but 
afterwards it becomes somewhat hollow 
and pithy. The base is surrounded by 
a characteristic cup-shaped appendage, 
the remnant of a veil which covers the 
entire plant when young. The length 
varies from 3 to 5 inches. The cap is 
viscid when moist, and is generally smooth 
and satiny, but it may sometimes bear 
fragments of the outer covering, or veil. 
The gills and spores are white. Several 
varieties of the plant exist, the one most 
common having a white or yellowish cap; 
but this may be green or even spotted 
when growing in deep shade. The gen- 
eral shape is much like that of the com- 
mon mushroom. It is also like that of the 
fly Amanita {Amanita muscaria), which 
is, perhaps, more common, but is less 
poisonous. From the former it is at once 
distinguished by its basal cup-shaped ap- 
pendage, and a child can usually distinguish the fly Amanita by its 
more brilliant coloring. 

The death cup occurs in Europe as well as in America, and it 
is mainly from European sources that our knowledge of it is obtained. 
Pliny ascribes numerous cases of poisoning to fungi, and it appears 
probable from the descriptions given that the poisoning was produced 
in most instances by the above plant or its several varieties. One 
foreign authority has collected 51 cases of poisoning caused by the 
death cup, 75 per cent of which were fatal ; and another has found 
descriptions of 48 cases which occurred in Germany alone in the years 
from 1880 to 1890. In the United States it is said that as many as 
25 deaths during the summer of 1893 were due to some species of 
The amount of the substance of this fungus which is necessary to 

Fig. 28. — Death cup {Amanita 


produce death is very small. The third part of a medium-sized 
uncooked cap is said to have proved fatal to a boy 12 years of age, and 
smaller amounts have affected older persons very seriously. Even the 
handling of specimens and the breathing of the spores have appar- 
ently given rise to very pronounced uneasiness. The spores are also 
suspected of having caused trouble by being deposited on edible fungi 
which were placed in the same basket. 

The fresh fungus is very inviting in appearance and has no bad 
taste when eaten either raw or cooked. There is no uneasiness felt 
by the victim until from nine to fourteen hours after eating. Severe 
abdominal pain then sets in, which is rapidly followed by nausea, vomit- 
ing, and extreme diarrhea, the alvine discharges assuming the peculiar 
rice-water condition which is characteristic of Asiatic cholera. These 
symptoms are persistently maintained, but without loss of conscious- 
ness, until death ensues, as it does in from two to four days. 

Since the year 1869 death from Amanita poisoning has generally 
been attributed to the alkaloid muscarine (wrongly called amanitine). 
This is true of a large number of cases. In some, however, it has 
been noticed that the toxic action was quite different, and that the 
effects could not be successfully counteracted by the use of atropine, 
which is a perfect antidote to muscarine and certain more or less 
closely related compounds. This difference seemed to be especially 
marked in the case of the death cup, but chemists were unable to 
isolate and describe its peculiar principle until recently. This was 
done in 1891 by Kobert at Dorpat, in Kussia, and the substance was 
called phallin. Its characteristic action consists, not in inhibiting 
the action of the heart, but in dissolving the red blood corpuscles and 
permitting the blood serum to escape through the alimentary canal. 

Phallin is a remarkable substance. Nothing like it was known to 
exist in plants until 1884, when abrin, the poison of the East Indian 
jequirity {Abrus precatorius), was isolated and described by two 
Englishmen. Mitchell, an American, had shown in 1860 that a simi- 
lar substance existed in the venom of the common rattlesnake, and 
others have more recently shown that such compounds are not uncom- 
mon in nature. They are now known to exist in the venom of various 
serpents, in the poison gland of some insects, in the cultures of such 
pathogenic bacteria as those characteristic of diphtheria and typhoid 
fever, and in a few plants, such as the barbadoes nut and the castor- 
oil bean. All partake of the nature of albumen, and are therefore 
called tox-albumins. They are easily coagulated and thus rendered 
inert by a temperature somewhat below that of boiling water, and 
all dissolve readily in a solution of common salt. Phallin is odorless 
and tasteless, and, like the other tox-albumins, causes death only 
after a long interval. The fatal dose for cats and dogs is less than 
one-tenth of a milligram per kilogram (seven ten-thousandths of a 
grain per pound) of body weight, and death follows in from four to 
Beventy-two hours. 
12 A96 10 


Salt water is commonly used in the preparation of fungi for food, 
and some pretense at cooking is generally observed; such treatment, 
although it "would not remove the poison of the deadly Amanita 
(Amanita muscaria), would, if thorough, totally remove that of the 
death-cup fungus. The uncertainty of an adequate treatment is so 
great, however, that the plant should be rejected as a food and branded 
as poisonous. The danger is made much more emphatic by the fact 
that there is no known antidote for phallin. When a case of poisoning 
occurs, the action of the muscarine-like compounds, which are in all 
cases to be suspected, is to be counteracted by the hypodermic use of 
atropine, but the ultimate effects of phallin are only to be offset by 
transfusions of common salt, or by blood taken fresh from the veins 
of some living animal. There is generally little need of agents to 
evacuate the stomach and bowels. 

The following account of a case of poisoning by the deadly Amanita 
was reported in one of the Washington (D. C.) newspapers for Octo- 
ber 18, 1894. The report was verified and enlarged by consultation 
with the physicians who attended the patient, The victim, Chung 
Yu Ting, was a highly educated Chinaman, who was serving as inter- 
preter in the household of a Russian nobleman. The fungus was 
identified by the microscopist of the United States Department of 

Having been accustomed to eating fungi in China, Chung gathered 
a large quantity of this luscious-looking fungus and ate it at 2 p. m. 
on Saturday, after preparing it according to his own method. At 9 
p. m. no ill effects had been observed, but shortly after midnight he 
was found in terrible agony. The vomiting and purging had been 
profuse, and in the bowl containing the vomit, the tough, apparently 
undigested morsels of fungus were found in great numbers. Medical 
aid was summoned at once and hypodermic injections of atropine and 
morphine given, but apparently without effect. The discharge of 
blood and blood serum which began in the early course of the attack 
continued to be so profuse that it was soon found impossible to raise 
a blister on the abdomen by the use of cantharides. Nothing what- 
ever could be retained on the stomach, and it was found impossible to 
give nourishment in any way. Hypodermic injections of nitroglycer- 
ine and strychnine -were used with good effect upon the heart, but the 
continued use of atropine appeared to do no good. The rice-water 
discharges continued unchecked, and the patient's strength declined 
steadily until death occurred on the morning of the fourth day after 
the fungus was eaten. 


By Thomas A. "Williams, 
Assistant, Division of Agrostology, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


Scarcely more than a decade ago nine out of every ten farmers on 
the Western prairies would have said to you, " Tou can't grow timothy 
in this country." True, a few of the more careful men in the more 
favored localities seemed to have no difficulty in making a success of 
timothy growing, but the average farmer of the prairies found so 
much trouble in growing it that he was firmly convinced of the use- 
lessness of making, the attempt. This was especially true if his farm 
was on the uplands. 

However, there was little need of any other forage than the native 
grasses in the earlier days. Land was plentiful, and every farmer 
was within easy reach of enough vacant territory to supply his stock 
with the necessary hay and pasturage. Consequently most of the 
attempts at growing timothy were of such a half-hearted nature that 
there is little wonder that so few were successful. Then, again, few 
farmers understood the nature of the soil, or, for that matter, of the 
timothy itself, sufficiently to go about the work intelligently. Soil 
and climatic conditions were very different from those in the East, 
where most of them had gained their experience in timothy growing. 
Though there was usually plenty of rain in early spring and in 
autumn, there was very little during the summer. Such conditions 
were favorable to the growing of small grain, but the hot, dry sum- 
mers were fatal to timothy without a different treatment from that 
usually given to it. Moreover, as is always the case in a newly 
settled region, the tendency at first was to loose and careless methods 
of farming. Too often the only attention the farmer gave to the 
timothy field after seeding it was to take off whatever crop of seed or 
hay there might be and then to allow the stock to run at will over the 
field during the remainder of the year. As the land was usually very 
smooth and it was possible to run the mower very low, the field would 
often be literally shaved close to the ground. Of course, such treat- 
ment resulted in a very short-lived meadow, which "would not pay," 
and timothy growing was abandoned, at least for the time. This has 
been the custom and these the results of thousands of attempts to 
grow timothy on the prairies of Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and 

But as the country became more thickly settled, native hay and pas- 
ture lands grew scarce and correspondingly less adequate to supply 



forage for the stock. Then it was that timothy growing was begun 
in earnest. By this time farmers had come to a better understanding 
of the methods of handling the soil as well as of the needs of the tim- 
othy. Then, too, the breaking up of the sod and the setting out of 
groves had produced a change in atmospheric conditions more favor- 
able to the development of the grass. Hence, in spite of the early 
prophecies regarding it, timothy is to-day one of the most commonly 
cultivated forage plants throughout a large portion of the great 
prairie region of the Mississippi and Missouri valleys. Good timothy 
meadows may be found not only along the lowlands of the valleys, 
but also on the farms of the upland prairies. There are upland 
meadows in eastern Nebraska which have been in constant use for 
fifteen years or more, and in that time have not failed to yield a 
paying crop. "Wherever irrigation is possible, excellent crops of 
timothy are easily grown. 


The methods of seeding down to timothy in practice among farmers 
and stock raisers vary widely according to the peculiarities of the 
different regions. Experience has long since shown that what will 
succeed in one may fail in another. There are, however, certain fea- 
tures of timothy growing to which everyone must give close attention 
if he would secure the best results. 

Timothy is a surface feeder, and hence the soil should be prepared 
in such a way as to concentrate an abundance of plant food near the 
surface and to allow the roots to penetrate to as great a depth as pos- 
sible. One of the most common practices is to begin at least a year 
before seeding to the grass and put the field into some crop which will 
allow the land to be given a deep, late plowing, and a heavy coating 
of manure. If the land has been kept clean, it will usually be in good 
condition for fall sowing, if the season is favorable. If not, it may be 
further enriched, fall plowed if necessary, and seeded the next spring. 
It has been found that while the soil should be mellow down to a good 
depth, yet it should not be too loose, or it dries out too readily, and 
the timothy will not form a good sod. This has led some farmers to 
the belief that pasturing is a good thing for timothy meadows. They 
would often find that the grass in a growing meadow would stool out 
better after the stock, especially cattle or horses, was allowed to run 
on it for a time. The trampling of the stock simply compacted the 
soil which before had been too loose. Very often the farmer would 
be misled by this and would allow his stock to run on the meadow to 
such an extent as to ruin it entirely. 

In Iowa and eastern Nebraska the roller is often used to compact 
the ground, particularly if it is cloddy, or if the seeding has been done 
in the spring and a nurse crop has been sown. In the lighter, sandier 
soils of the Dakotas and of western Nebraska rolling can not be prac- 
ticed, since the soil is made so fine that the winds blow it off and 
uncover the seed or blow both seed and soil away. 

In Nebraska and the Dakotas very fine stands of timothy are often 


obtained by sowing in the fall on millet stubble. In this case the 
land is given a thorough coating of well-rotted stable manure, and is 
plowed very deep and as late as possible, so as to kill all the weeds 
that may start. The millet is cut early and the timothy is sown 
directly on the stubble and covered by a thorough dragging with a 
heavy harrow. In this treatment the land should always be made 
very rich and the millet should be cut before the seed has developed. 
It is also a good plan to leave the stubble long, to serve as a snow 
catch for the protection of the timothy. A more common practice is 
to manure the ground thoroughly, plow, and plant to corn or some 
other cultivated crop that does not draw heavily upon the soil; 
manure lightly with well-rotted stable manure the next spring and 
sow to timothy, using wheat or some other small grain as a nurse 
plant. The wheat is usually sown broadcast and covered with a 
cultivator, harrowed smooth and the timothy sown later and the 
ground rolled or gone over with a brush drag. This is one of the 
most successful methods. Another plan often followed is to take a 
field that has raised a crop of small grain (say, oats), manure heavily, 
and fall plow, sow in spring to wheat or barley, either with drill or 
broadcast, and seed to timothy, either with the nurse crop or later. 

Timothy is often used in reclaiming worn-out native meadows and 
pastures, and with proper treatment very good results are obtained. 
It seldom yields well in pastures, however, for more than two or three 
years in succession unless the land is very rich and moist. It is there- 
fore the best plan to sow blue grass with the timothy, and by the time 
the latter is pastured out the former will have occupied the land. 
Sowing on native turf is usually done in early spring. The seed is 
sown broadcast, and then the ground is gone over thoroughly with 
a heavy harrow. Native meadows on low, rich soil, that have become 
thin from continuous close cutting may be very materially strength- 
ened by the addition of a little timothy in this manner, as the writer 
knows from experience in both Nebraska and South Dakota. 

In some parts of the Dakotas timothy is often drilled along with wheat 
simply for the fall and spring pasturage, and then the field is plowed 
and planted to corn. This has been done with considerable profit on 
large stock farms when seed is not too dear and there is plenty of mois- 
ture. The regular pasture may be allowed to rest during fall and spring, 
and thus be in better condition for the summer. The green timo- 
thy makes a valuable addition to the straw and other "roughness" 
which the stock gets in the field during the late fall and early spring. 

The amount of seed used per acre varies from 8 to 16 quarts, but 
in common practice it is seldom more than 12 quarts. For all pur- 
poses broadcasting gives better results than drilling when timothy is 
sown alone, but it is necessary to cover the seed more deeply than 
is the custom in the East on account of the lighter soil and the liability 
to more or less protracted droughts. 


In tlie great majority of cases the real cause of the success or failure 
of the timothy field lies in the treatment it receives after it has been 
seeded down. As a rule, it is not a difficult matter to get a good stand 
of grass. The trouble is in so handling the field as to get good returns 
and still keep the sod in a healthy, growing condition. 

Throughout the entire prairie region the time and manner of cutting 
have much to do with the vitality of the sod. In all dry situations 
timothy develops bulbous thickenings (fig. 29) of greater or less ex- 
tent at the bases of the stalks, which become filled with water and 
enable the plants to survive droughty periods. If the cutting takes 
place too early in the season, these bulbs do not become sufficiently 
developed and the plants are more easily influenced by the hot, dry 
weather which often prevails during summer and autumn. Again, 
the conditions may be such that a late cutting may do serious damage 
to the sod. If the early part of the season has been dry and rains in 
July produce a second growth, the farmer usually waits as long as he 
can before cutting, in order to get as large a yield as possible. It is 
seldom that much aftermath is developed, on account of the lateness 
of the second growth, and if the timothy is cut too close to the ground 
the sod is very likely to suffer badly. Hence, a long stubble should be 
left. In fact, it is never a good plan to cut closer than 3 or 4 inches. 
When timothy is sown iu the spring, it is usually best to go over the 
meadow with the mower to keep the weeds down, but not with the 
intention of cutting a crop of hay. Sometimes a little seed may be 
obtained the first season, but this is generally needed to fill in thin 
places in the sod. 

The best hay is obtained by cutting during full bloom or when the 
"blossoms" fall. The feeding qualities are best at full bloom, but 
most farmers prefer to cut a little later, as the pollen makes the hay 
"dusty," which is avoided by waiting. It sometimes happens that, 
on account of lack of moisture, the first growth is light, and abundant 
rains in June or July may cause a strong second growth to spring up, 
which will not be in its prime until the first has reached an advanced 
stage of development. In such cases it would be more profitable to 
cut late, provided the proper precautions are observed as to the con- 
dition in which the sod should be left. There is a growing sentiment 
in favor of cutting timothy with the self-binder for hay as well as for 
seed, and the practice has much to commend it. With right treat- 
ment the hay cures well, is much more easily handled and fed, and 
can be stored in a more limited space than when cut in the ordinary 

Experience has shown that, under the ordinary conditions obtain- 
ing in the West, pasturing has a bad effect upon the vitality of the 
timothy meadow. The trampling of the stock destroys the bulbs of 
the plants and packs the ground, rendering it more liable to bake. 



Sheep are particularly hard on timothy, because of the close grazing 
and excessive trampling resulting from their habit of feeding in 
flocks. When the meadow is on low, rich, moist bottom land, it 
will stand a limited 
amount of grazing. 
There is some doubt 
as to whether spring 
or fall pasturing does 
the greater injury. 
At the Utah Experi- 
ment Station, in a two 
years' trial, spring 
grazing did the most 
damage. Many farm- 
ers, however, hold 
that spring grazing 
does less damage if 
the stock is taken off 
before the timothy be- 
gins to "joint." It is 
more than likely that 
much depends upon 
the character of the 
season and the con- 
dition and treatment 
of the sod. 

Since most of the 
nourishment which 
this grass draws from 
the soil comes from 
near the surface, the 
meadow should be 
given a top-dressing 
every year or two. 
Ordinary stable ma- 
nure is most com- 
monly used in the 
West, since it is the 
only fertilizer easily 
accessible. It should 
be well rotted when 
applied, and then it 
will be readily availa- 
ble to the plants. In 
practice the manure 
is put on the field during the fall, winter, or spring, as best suits the 
convenience of the farmer. The least waste occurs and the best results 
are obtained, however, when application is made in early spring. 

Pig. 29.— Timothy, showing the bulbous bases of the clustered 
stems in old plants grown in dry, hard soil. 


It is a frequent thing for tlie timothy meadow in the West to become 
" hidebound." This usually occurs in meadows that have been in use 
for some years, and is due mainly to two causes. In the first place, 
through insufficient cultivation the driving rains and hot summer 
suns pack and bake the ground so hard that the plants can grow only 
with great difficulty; in the second place, as the plants become older 
a great many offshoots are developed, each with its bulbous base, and 
all are crowded together in such a small area that none can make a 
satisfactory growth. The remedy for such a condition of things is to 
give the meadow a good top-dressing in early spring and follow this 
with a heavy harrow, thoroughly tearing up the sod. This breaks up 
the crust and allows the soil to absorb water more readily, while it 
tends to lessen the loss by evaporation. It also separates the bunches 
of timothy plants and allows them to develop properly. If the 
meadow is top-dressed and harrowed often enough, this "hidebound" 
condition will be avoided. 

From the fact that there is less need of frequent rotation in the 
"West than in the East, the Western farmer usually desires a long-lived 
meadow. With this end in view, he welcomes any practice that will 
increase the vitality of the meadow, and hence its longevity. Top- 
dressing, harrowing, or cutting up the sod with a cornstalk cutter, 
mowing at the proper season and in the proper manner all tend to 
increase the life of the meadow. It is also a good practice to sow a 
small quantity of red clover or alsike with the timothy. These not 
only add materially to the forage obtained, but also have a good effect 
upon the soil, and are thus a benefit to the timothy. It is usually 
necessary to sow a small quantity of clover about once in every 
three years. 

Many farmers sow also a small quantity of redtop with their tim- 
othy. This grass fills in the spaces between the bunches of timothy, 
and hence a more even sod is produced. It is not a good plan to use 
too much redtop, however, or it will crowd out the timothy, as it is 
very hardy and spreads more rapidly than the latter. 


Western-grown seed is eagerly sought by many seedsmen on account 
of its greater vitality, and hence the growing of timothy for seed has 
become quite an industry in certain localities. The heads always 
fill out well, and even when quite thin on the ground the yield is 
sufficient to render the business a profitable one on account of the 
relatively low price of land and the small amount of labor and 
expense necessary to grow and market the crop. While the vitality 
of Western seed is high, it requires a great deal of care to harvest it 
in such a manner as to get a high grade in color. An excessively 
bright sun is very likely to bleach out the seed and thus injure its 
selling qualities. On the other hand, the ease with which timothy 
can usually be cured and the seed saved in the West are points 
in its favor. 



As a rule, timothy is cut at about the time the early maturing 
heads are beginning to be overripe. When the seed in most of the 
heads is ripe enough to cut, the leaves are still quite green, and 
hence the straw makes fairly good feed after thrashing. The cutting 
is usually done with a self-binder, and the bundles are made rather 
small and bound somewhat loosely. They are shocked two and two, 
and the timothy is usually thrashed, without stacking, as soon as it is 
thoroughly dry. The hauling is done, if possible, in racks with tight 
bottoms, so that the shattered seed may be saved. In this way, 
though a small amount of seed is often lost because some of the 
heads are not well ripened, the loss is more than made good by the 
better quality of the straw, and the farmer gets a yield of from 6 to 
12 bushels per acre of first-class seed in addition to a large amount 
of forage of a fair quality, which can be used to good advantage as 
horse feed during the winter or as "roughness" for fattening cattle 
or other stock. 

If the timothy is allowed to stand too long, there is danger of as much 
loss from shattering as there is gain from the later ripening heads, and 
then the forage is rapidly deteriorating all the time. The shocking 
must be carefully done, and the bundles handled as little as possible 
in getting them to the thrashing machine. The timothy must not be 
allowed to stand too long in the shock, as again there may be consid- 
erable loss from shattering, and the quality of the seed may be injured 
by bleaching through exposure to sun and rains. 


A finer quality of hay can be grown in the West than in the East, 
but the average yield per acre is less, except under irrigation. The 
following table gives a comparison of the chemical constituents of 
Western hay, cut just after blooming, with the average of eleven 
analyses, chiefly of hay grown in the East: 

Air-dry material. 



of eleven 







10 4 


6 6 







It will be seen from this that the Western hay contains more crude 
fiber and more crude protein and has a narrower nutritive ratio. The 
latter fact renders it more nearly a well-balanced ration than the aver- 
age, and hence of more value to the consumer. The conditions of hot 
sun, dry weather, and excessive evaporation under which the Western 


hay is grown readily explain the larger percentage of crude fiber, and 
the richness of the soil in nitrogenous elements is undoubtedly respon- 
sible for the larger percentage of protein present. 

Careful attention to the methods of culture, mentioned in the pre- 
ceding pages, has made timothy growing a success throughout a large 
portion of a vast region in which it was once maintained that it could 
not be grown, and there is every reason to expect that its cultivation 
will become still more general. There is little doubt that it will con- 
tinue for many years to come to be the principal grass sown for hay, 
for, though it lacks some of the characteristics that a perfect forage 
plant should possess, it is certainly the best hay grass for average farm 
conditions that is at present available. 

On an upland prairie farm in eastern Nebraska, which was the 
writer's home for many years, there is a timothy meadow which has 


Fig. 80.— A timothy meadow at haying timo in the Gallatin Valley, Montana. 

given a profitable yield every season for over fifteen years in spite of 
severe droughts, and the sod is still in a good, healthy, growing condi- 
tion. It has never been reseeded, and clover has been sown but once. 
During the past four years, two of which were very dry, the average 
yield has been 2f tons per acre, the lowest yield being 1£ tons and the 
highest 4^- tons. Similar fields are found in the Dakotas and other 
prairie States. 

In the Dakotas, Montana, and other States where irrigation is prac- 
ticed, enormous crops of timothy are raised. In the James Valley, in 
South Dakota, and in the Gallatin Valley (fig. 30), in Montana, the 
writer has seen crops of timothy and of timothy and clover raised 
under irrigation that were very fine indeed, considerably exceeding in 
value the crops of wheat raised under like conditions. 


By Ch. Wabdell Stiles, Ph. D., 
Zoologist of the Bureau of Animal Industry, 


Generally speaking, the places for slaughtering animals for food 
may be divided into large abattoirs and local slaughterhouses. The 
former are usually located in cities, and operated in connection with 
packing houses. The latter are used chiefly by the meat dealers of 
the country towns, and the animals slaughtered at these places are 
generally, if not always, for local consumption. In this article it is 
intended to discuss only the local slaughterhouses in their relation to 
disease, and the criticisms here made do not apply to the large abat- 
toirs which prepare meat for export and interstate trade in accordance 
with the system of Government inspection now in force. 

It is impossible to ascertain from the State authorities the total 
number of places of slaughtering in either of the States discussed, so 
that no definite figures can be given covering the entire area visited, 
but a certain number of representative towns will be considered, in 
which the data were obtained by personal investigation. 

The butchers of the counties visited supply themselves with meat 
from the following sources: 

(1) Some meat dealers, especially those of the cities and larger towns, 
obtain all their meats from the large packing houses and do no slaugh- 
tering themselves; this class does not, therefore, enter into the field of 
this article. 

(2) In a few cases meat men were found who did their own killing, 
but who had no regular place for slaughter. These men would drive 
from farm to farm and buy one or two animals, which they killed at 
the place of purchase, throwing the offal of the slaughtered animals 
to the farmers* hogs. They would take the dressed or partly dressed 
earcass to their meat shop and place it on the block. 

(3) In a number of cases small dealers were found who had no 
slaughterhouse of their own, but who did all their killing at slaugh- 
terhouses controlled by other local butchers. 

(4) In two towns at least it was learned that farmers occasionally 

slaughtered their own animals and brought them to town dressed or 

partly dressed, selling them in halves or quarters to the local butchers 

or to families, hotels, restaurants, etc. The farmers were in the habit 

of feeding the offal of the slaughtered animals to their hogs. 



(5) The majority of the local dealers in small towns own or rent 
small slaughterhouses. In nearly all cases these houses are located 
on or just beyond the town limits. They are frame structures, gen- 
erally of one room, built directly on the ground or raised several feet, 
and surrounded by a small yard, or in many cases situated in a large 

In perhaps the majority of cases the butchers controlled a small 
piece of land, and, as a rule, hogs were kept on the premises to eat 
the offal. In many instances the houses were located on the banks 
of rivers or creeks into which the premises drained. Frequently the 
offal was thrown down an embankment toward the water and left 
there to be eaten by hogs and rats or to decay and drain into the 
stream. In some cases the slaughterhouses were located on farms. 
These farms were either owned by the butchers or a farmer would 
give to the butcher, for his slaughterhouse, the use of a piece of ground 
on the corner of his premises in return for the use of the offal as food 
for his hogs. 

A very important matter from the standpoint of public hygiene is 
that in case a town was provided with more than one slaughterhouse, 
the houses were rarely segregated, but were scattered north, south, 
east, and west, each butcher apparently trying to place his house in 
such a position as to prevent any undue amount of curiosity on the 
part of his competitors as to the character of his stock. 


After this general introduction, it may be well to give some notes 
taken upon the premises of various slaughterhouses. The plan of 
inspection followed was first to call on the local board of health and 
the mayor of the town, in order to obtain as much information as pos- 
sible regarding the location of the houses, character of the butchers, 
etc. A visit was then made to the dealer, and permission to visit his 
slaughterhouse was requested; at the same time information was re- 
quested concerning the number of animals used, the origin and dis- 
position of the stock, etc. In these notes any statements not made 
from personal observation are given upon the authority of the mayor, 
the local board of health, or the butchers themselves. As a rule, per- 
mission to visit the grounds was easily obtained and all questions 
were cheerfully answered. In some isolated cases, however, permis- 
sion to' enter the premises was refused by the butcher, and these 
places were then inspected only from a distance. It is needless to 
state that these premises were found in poor condition. 

The cases cited below are taken at random from notes covering 
nineteen towns in one State and ten towns in another. The number 
of inhabitants of the towns is for the year 1890. 

Town 1. 

Inhabitants, 1,276. Number of slaughterhouses, 2. Proportion of slaughter- 
houses to inhabitants, 1 to 638. 


Slaughterhouse 1. — About a mile west of corporation limits. Frequent com- 
plaints have been made by persons residing in the vicinity, but at present the 
premises are said to be in much better condition than formerly. About 40 hogs 
are on the grounds, feeding on offal and corn; these hogs are used only for local 
consumption. The offal is thrown out of the slaughtering room down a hill, and 
remains there until eaten by hogs and rats or until decayed; the premises drain 
into a creek, and are overrun with rats. Of 14 rats examined, 10 were infected 
with trichinae. 

Slaughterhouse 2. — About a mile and a half east of town; few hogs present, 
feeding on offal and very poorly kept; these hogs are used only for local trade. 
Premises badly infested with rats; 3 out of 8 examined were trichinous. 

Town 2. 

Inhabitants, 2,448. Slaughterhouses, 8. Proportion of slaughterhouses to in- 
habitants, 1 to 816. 

The health officer of this town, when asked about trichinosis in this region, ad- 
vised me to ' ' ask some horse doctor about it, as that disease belonged to horse 
doctors rather than to physicians." He considered an inspection of meats useless, 
" as no disease could be communicated through the food supply. " As long as such 
a man is allowed to hold the important position of health officer there need be no 
surprise if disease is widespread. 

Slaughterhouse 1. — Butcher owns slaughterhouse a mile and a half southeast of 
town, the yards covering about 40 acres; premises in fairly good condition. His 
shop in town is full of rats; 4 out of 7 examined were trichinous. Butcher stated 
he had repeatedly attempted to feed hogs on offal, but found that they did poorly; 
one of the hired men stated that the proprietor had recently shipped 2 car loads of 
hogs from his slaughterhouse to abattoirs. 

Slaughterhouse 2. — Butcher slaughters on his own farm, 2| miles north of town; 
keeps about 30 hogs, but does not feed for shipment; shop and slaughterhouse are 
both dirty and poorly kept; his 22 cats, however, seem to keep the rats down. 

Slaughterhouses. — As filthy, dirty, and rickety a place as can well be imagined; 
situated about a mile east of town ; premises are absolutely honeycombed with rats ; 
of 5 rats examined, 3 were found infected with trichinae. How the board of health 
can allow such a nest to exist passes comprehension, and how people can purchase 
meat prepared in such a place is a question the writer will not attempt to answer. 

Town 3. 

Inhabitants, 1,088. Slaughterhouses, 3. Proportion of slaughterhouses to inhab- 
itants, 1 to 363. 

Slaughterhouse 1. — Half a mile east of town; owner feeds about 150 hogs per 
year on the offal and sells them to shippers, buying hogs from farmers for his own 
block. The house is overrun with rats, but is in fairly good condition. 

Slaughterhouse 2. — Abandoned about a year prior to visit. 

Slaughterhouse S. — Fairly good condition; 40 or more hogs per year fed on offal. 

Mr. D., a hog "shipper," ships about 6,000 head per year. Of this number about 
125, or 2 T >j per cent, are offal-fed hogs, from slaughterhouse No. 1. 

Mr. M., "shipper," shipped 3,900 hogs from December 1, 1892, to April 1, 1893. 
Of these hogs, 40 head, or 1-^ per cent, were offal fed, from slaughterhouse No. 3. 

Town 4. 

Inhabitants, 6,747. Slaughterhouses, 4. Proportion of slaughterhouses to inhab- 
itants, 1 to 1,687. 

Slaughterhouse 1. — A mile and a-half southwest of town, on the banks of a river; 
the filthiest slaughterhouse found during the entire tour of inspection. A look at 
the dirty, ignorant man in charge is enough to turn one against any meats whieh 
may have passed through his bands. He resented the visit in a most ugly manner, 


although the health officer was in the party. From either the proprietor or his 
hired man it was very difficult to obtain information regarding the origin or dis- 
position of their hogs. Premises in a most horrible condition and totally unfit for 
use as a place in which to prepare food. The killing room is small and dirty, 
although an attempt seemed to have been made to wash the center of the floor after 
slaughtering the last time. Around the sides of the room stood barrels, many of 
them falling to pieces, filled with scraps of meat, and of easy access to rats. The 
blood and offal troughs drain directly into the river. Adjoining the killing room 
is a dirty, filthy rendering room. Some of the swine offal is rendered and the rest 
of it is fed to hogs. The entire premises are overrun with rats, and the hired man 
remarked that he " frequently poured hot water into the rat holes and killed the 
rats by hundreds " as they ran out. When asked what he did with the rats, he 
replied that he " did nothing with them; some were eaten by the hogs, the others 
were left to decay." No rats examined for trichinosis, as that would have been a 
waste of time. Under the conditions existing at this place the infection can cer- 
tainly not be less than 70 to 80 per cent. Adjoining the buildings is a yard in 
which hogs, chickens, and turkeys are raised. There were about 70 swine, vary- 
ing from pigs three days old to large hogs. 

The public certainly can not expect that the premises of a country slaughter- 
house will bs as clean as a reception room, but butchers, on the other hand, should 
not expect that the public will tolerate such filthy, disease-breeding places as the 
one just described. 

The local health officer has no authority over this house, as it is outside the cor- 
poration limits; the State board entirely ignores the condition of the slaughter- 
houses, and as a result the public has no protection from the impositions practiced 
by such filthy establishments. 

Slaughterhouse 2. — Situated about half a mile south of town; far above the 
average country slaughterhouse. The premises are dry, except for a small pool, 
which should be taken care of. There are about 20 head of cattle on the place, 
and the proprietor generally keeps from 2 to 50 hogs in the yards, all of which are 
used for local trade; these hogs have access to the offal of the sheep and steers, 
but the offal of the hogs is carried away in barrels and thrown into the river. 
An excellent feature of this place is the bone platform, which, like the house 
itself, is raised about 3 feet above the ground. 

Slaughterhouses 3 and 4. — Two small slaughterhouses are located within a few 
yards of each other, about a mile and a half southeast of town. The buildings 
are raised above the ground and are in fairly good condition; the yards are very 
small and there is evidently no attempt to raise hogs; the offal is thrown into the 
yards and allowed to decay. 

The four towns cited are fair examples of the places visited. To pub- 
lish the notes on the other towns would be simply to repeat the fore- 
going statements. Some places were found in good condition; some 
in a condition that was a disgrace both to their proprietors and to the 
communities that tolerated their existence. 


The first matter to notice in connection with this subject is that 
every slaughterhouse is from the very nature of things a center of dis- 
ease, and naturally the poorer the condition of the premises the more 
dangerous they are. These facts will appear clear if one considers 
what takes place at one of these houses. Even if only a few animals 
are slaughtered each week, the total number may amount to several 
hundred during the year. Some of the animals are surely diseased. 


At least one of the hogs has trichinosis, and when the offal of this 
trichinous hog is fed to hogs which are raised upon the grounds the 
latter can not escape infection with trichinae. But that is not all. 
The slaughterhouses are often overrun with rats; the rats feed on 
the offal, and when feeding on the offal of a trichinous hog they like- 
wise can not escape infection with trichinae. As a matter of fact, the 
rats captured at slaughterhouses, meat shops, and rendering establish- 
ments were found to be infected in a much greater proportion than 
rats taken from other sources, as is shown by the following table: 
Summary of trichinosis in rats. 






Group 1 : 










Group 2 : 





















Eats act as direct transmitters of trichinosis to hogs. According to 
the above statistics, if a hog kept at a slaughterhouse eats a rat, the 
chances are fifty-five in a hundred that it will become infected with 
the disease. Now, suppose that a slaughterhouse is burned or aban- 
doned, as was frequently found to be the ease; the rats inhabiting the 
premises naturally wander to the neighboring farms or to the corncribs 
in order to obtain food, and of every hundred rats which leave the 
slaughterhouse grounds fifty-five carry with them the disease known 
as trichinosis. This disease they transmit to hogs, if eaten by them. 

It is frequently denied that hogs will eat rats, but such denial is 
erroneous. Sometimes hogs have refused rats when offered to them; 
but that hogs do and will eat rats has been proved by experiment. 

In the segregation of slaughterhouses care should be taken to 
destroy the rats in all the houses which are deserted, in order to 
prevent their wandering to neighboring farms. 

From this it will be seen that every slaughterhouse where hogs are 
killed forms a center for the spread of trichinosis to neighboring farms, 
and when the offal is fed to other hogs it can not be expected that 
the latter will escape trichinosis any more than the rats. Offal-fed 
hogs are, therefore, liable to be infected to an extent varying from 10 
to 100 per cent, and this custom of feeding hogs at country slaughter- 
houses unquestionably is mainly responsible for the spread of trichi- 
nosis among the hogs of the two States visited. When we recall that, 


as was ascertained by inquiry, from one-fourth of 1 per cent to nearly 
4 per cent of all the hogs shipped from certain localities are offal fed, 
we need not be at all surprised to find that 1 to 2 per cent of all the 
hogs examined at the large abattoirs are trichinous. Furthermore, 
since so much offal-fed pork is placed upon the local market in coun- 
try towns, we need not be at all surprised should we find that a quar- 
ter or a half of all the pork sold by many country butchers is infected 
with trichinse. 

But trichinosis is not the only disease which the country slaughter- 
house spreads by offal feeding. It is well known that tuberculosis 
occurs in cattle and hogs. Now, if one or two hundred of these ani- 
mals are killed at a country slaughterhouse during the year, it may 
safely be assumed that one or more of them are tuberculous. Feed- 
ing the offal of these tuberculous animals to hogs will transmit the 
disease to those hogs, and these animals when used as food may in 
turn transmit tuberculosis to human beings. 

The country slaughterhouse is also the center of infection for a 
number of animal parasites which are injurious to live stock or, in 
some cases, even to man, and which are spread by means of dogs. 
Anyone who has visited one of these places will have noticed that 
dogs soon discover the premises as a good place to obtain food. 
While eating the discarded organs, they infect themselves with sev- 
eral kinds of parasites, of which, the following are the more important : 

The Echinococcus hydatid is found in the liver, lungs, and other 
organs of cattle, sheep, hogs, and certain other animals. It varies in 
size from a small object as large as a hazelnut or smaller to a bladder 
the size of a child's head. This bladder contains numerous tape- 
worm heads, and when eaten by a dog each head produces a small 
tapeworm. The eggs of this tapeworm are in turn transmitted to the 
various domesticated animals and man, and give rise to hydatids. 

This parasite seems to be on the increase in this country. The 
disease it causes can occasionally be cured, but in man it is said 
to be fatal in five years in about 50 per cent of the cases. It can, 
however, be almost completely eradicated if slaughterhouses are 
properly cared for. 

The Thin-necked bladder worm is found in the body cavity, in the 
omentum, etc., of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and is quite common in some 
localities. It develops into the Marginate tapeworm when eaten by 
dogs. The eggs of the marginate tapeworm are then scattered by dogs 
on farms, in the road, etc., and infect cattle, sheep, and hogs with 
the bladder worm. It occasionally causes the death of young ani- 
mals, as the bladder worm can not be reached with medicines. 

The Gid bladder worm is found in the brain of sheep, and occa- 
sionally in other animals, but fortunately it is exceedingly rare, if 
present at all, in this country. When eaten by dogs, it develops into 
a tapeworm which produces numerous eggs. The dogs scatter these 
eggs on farms, sheep become infected with them, and contract the 
disease of " gid " or " turnsick." 


The Tongue worm is found encysted in the viscera of cattle, sheep, 
and other animals. It is about a quarter of an inch long, and when 
eaten by dogs grows to be 2 to 5 inches long, inhabits the nasal cavi- 
ties, and produces numerous eggs, which are transmissible to man as 
well as to the domesticated animals. 

It is needless to enumerate all the diseases which might center at a 
slaughterhouse, but two more maladies, i. e., hog cholera and swine 
plague, demand attention. It has already been noticed that many 
slaughterhouses drain directly into brooks and creeks. If hogs suf- 
fering from hog cholera or swine plague are killed and the entrails 
thrown into a yard draining into a creek, it inevitably follows that 
the creek becomes contaminated and the disease then spreads to farms 
lower down the creek, and an outbreak of the disease will follow. 
The same remarks apply to wire- worm disease in sheep. 

From the foregoing details and discussion, the writer is forced to 
adopt the view that every slaughterhouse is a center from which dis- 
ease may spread, and that the chief factors concerned in the spread of 
these diseases are (1) offal feeding, (2) drainage, (3) rats, and (4) dogs. 


There are two methods of meeting and lessening the dangers with 
which slaughterhouses threaten the farmer: 

(1) Since every slaughterhouse is a separate center of disease, it 
follows that a reduction in number or a segregation of slaughterhouses 
will reduce the number of places from which disease will spread. 

(2) Since offal feeding, drainage, rats, and dogs are the important 
factors concerned in spreading the diseases, it follows that we can 
control the spread of these diseases by controlling these factors. 


An exact ratio of the number of inhabitants to each slaughterhouse 
can not be deduced, as the neighboring farmers naturally draw some 
of their supplies from the local markets. Taking, however, the 
number of inhabitants in towns and the number of slaughterhouses, 
localities can be found where the proportion varies between one 
slaughterhouse to 72 inhabitants and one slaughterhouse to 1,600 
inhabitants. In twenty-nine towns of the two States visited sixty-nine 
local slaughterhouses were found. Sixteen of the towns had two 
slaughterhouses each, eight had three each, two had four each, and 
one had five. 

From the above figures it will be seen that twenty-nine localities fur- 
nished sixty-nine disease centers for the surrounding country. It is 
also evident that if the slaughterhouses were so segregated that all the 
butchers of each town were obliged to do all their killing at a common 
slaughterhouse, we should have forty places less from which disease 
could spread to the farms surrounding these twenty-nine towns. 
12 A96 11 


The first and most important proposition, therefore, to lessen the 
danger due to the country slaughterhouse is to reduce the number of 
places at which slaughtering is allowed, compelling all the butchers 
of a given town to slaughter at the same place. 

This suggestion will naturally not meet with the approval of all 
the butchers. The objection will be made that they have money in- 
vested in slaughterhouses and that any change will mean financial 
loss to them. To this the reply is that all or nearly all the country 
slaughterhouses are frame buildings, which are not of much value ; 
they are cheaply built, poorly arranged, etc. , and represent an infin- 
itely smaller investment than the money invested in stock by neigh- 
boring farmers; and the temporary loss to be sustained by the butcher 
will be infinitely less than the loss sustained in the course of time by 
the neighboring farmers and by the community. Further, these 
numerous local slaughterhouses are menaces to public health, and 
under these circumstances a small financial loss to a few individuals 
can not be taken into consideration. 

Another objection that will be made by the butchers is that while 
the segregation of the slaughterhouses would reduce the number of 
centers of infection, it would not reduce the amount of infection in a 
given district. To this the reply is that the objection is more appar- 
ent than real, since a given amount of infection in a restricted area is 
more easily controlled than the same amount of infection scattered 
over a larger area and in different localities. 

Objection will also be made that this segregation of the slaughter- 
houses is an innovation, an experiment, a scientific theory which is 
not practicable. The reply to this is, that while it is an innovation in 
this country, it has been tested and found satisfactory in other coun- 
tries, where practical experience has borne out scientific theory and 
where the plan has been shown to be entirely feasible. 

Objection may be raised that one butcher does not care to be sub- 
jected to having his business open to the gaze of other butchers. 
This objection answers itself. There undoubtedly are butchers who 
would object to having other butchers see the class of stock they kill 
or raise, and the sooner the health authorities exercise some control 
over these dealers the better. 

In connection with the segregation of slaughterhouses it is suggested 
that a slaughterhouse could be built by a stock company or by the mu- 
nicipality and stalls let to the butchers, or the butchers could build a 
common house for killing, or each butcher could move or build within 
a restricted area to be given up to slaughterhouses. 


Passing now to the most potent factors in the transmission and 
spread of disease from country slaughterhoiises, i. e., offal feeding, 
drainage, rats, and dogs, let us see how these factors may best be 


Disposition of offal. — The author unqualifiedly condemns the feed- 
ing of the uncooked offal of slaughtered hogs (and also of uncooked 
swill containing scraps of pork) to other hogs, on the general ground 
that this custom is a most potent factor in spreading disease, and also 
on the ground that "butchers almost universally admit that offal-fed 
hogs are inferior to corn-fed hogs. It is here also specifically main- 
tained that offal feeding at the small country slaughterhouses is the 
most important factor in the spread of trichinosis among our "Western 
hogs, since the conditions found are such that undoubtedly from 25 to 
100 per cent of the offal-fed hogs at these houses are infected with 
trichinae. This custom unquestionably also plays an important r61e in 
the spread of tuberculosis among hogs. It is accordingly urged that 
the offal of hogs be disposed of in some other way. A dealer who kills 
but two or three hogs per week can not, of course, afford to render 
the offal, but if all the butchers of a given town or county, or of two 
or three neighboring towns, kill at the same place, the proportionate 
expense of rendering will be reduced. 

There is no valid sanitary objection to feeding the offal of healthy 
cattle and sheep to hogs, but there are decided objections to feeding 
this offal in case the animals are diseased. In order to be on the safe 
side, therefore, it is urged that the custom of offal feeding be entirely 

In large abattoirs no offal is fed, so that the claim some Europeans 
have made that offal feeding at Chicago and other large places spreads 
disease among our stock is entirely groundless. 

Drainage. — If the offal is rendered, the problem of the drainage of 
slaughterhouses will be greatly simplified, since the greatest danger 
in the drainage is from the decaying offal. The latter being disposed 
of, the drainage system will simply have to take care of the unused 
blood, the water used for washing, and the rain. 

Regarding the water supply, it may be stated that this is very 
poor in the average country slaughterhouse, but a segregation of the 
houses would enable the expense of a windmill or other supply power 
to be divided among several parties, and thus reduced, while the 
water supply will be increased. The drainage of the killing floors 
and yards is naturally quite rich, containing considerable manure, 
blood, etc. To drain this material directly into small creeks and 
rivers is somewhat dangerous for neighboring farms. As a safe method 
of disposal, the use of large covered cesspools situated some dis- 
tance from the water supply is suggested. The cleanings from these 
cesspools would form excellent fertilizer, but should not be used fresh 
on any ground to which cattle, sheep, or hogs have access, or upon 
grounds planted with vegetables which are eaten uncooked. With 
comparatively little expense the blood could be immediately prepared 
as fertilizer. 

The destruction of rats. — How to destroy the rats around a slaugh- 
terhouse is a serious problem. The use of " Hough on Rats " in these 


places is to be condemned, as it causes the rats to wander, thus spread- 
ing disease. It is far better that diseased rats should remain on the 
premises than that they should wander to farms. "Rat runs" by 
use of ferrets or by pouring hot water into the rat holes, the presence 
of "ratters," and the systematic use of rat traps and rat falls will do 
much toward destroying these pests. Although there are slaughter- 
houses in the two States visited that are literally honeycombed by 
rats, there are others where rats are very scarce. 

A most excellent " rat fall" may be made of a strong barrel, about 
half full of water. The cover should be placed on a pivot and well 
baited. Hundreds of rats may be caught with this device. It is 
important to dispose of the bodies of these rats so that they can not 
be devoured by other rats or by hogs. 

Dogs. — The butcher who allows dogs access to the slaughterhouse 
or its grounds is directly responsible for the spread of certain animal 
parasites. Dogs should be absolutely excluded. The presence of 
cats is not attended with the same danger as that of dogs, but it is 
difficult to maintain cats at slaughterhouses for any length of time 
without feeding them on milk or other food besides meat. 


The question of raising live stock on slaiighterhouse premises nat- 
urally arises in connection with the question of offal feeding. The 
opinion upon this question needs no defense to anyone who will con- 
sider all the conditions involved. The writer is unqualifiedly opposed 
to the raising of any kind of stock upon premises occupied by slaugh- 
terhouses, and condemns this custom, so prevalent in some districts, 
as dangerous to the public health, in that it inevitably results in 
breeding disease in animals used for food. It is accordingly recom- 
mended that local or State regulations be made to the effect that when 
any stock animal, more particularly the hog, has once entered the 
premises of a slaughterhouse, it should not be allowed to leave those 
premises alive, and that it must be slaughtered within a period not 
exceeding two weeks. 

Such a regulation would have the twofold effect of preventing the 
shipment of slaughterhouse hogs to abattoirs, and the limit of two 
weeks would prevent these animals from reaching a stage in the disease 
known as trichinosis where the malady is transmissible to man, in 
case healthy hogs became infected after entering the premises. 


Country slaughterhouses are almost invariably built of wood. The 
use of some other building material, such as brick or stone, is advised, 
as stone is more easily cleaned and holds odors less tenaciously than 
wood. The flooring and the pavement of the entire yard should, if 
possible, be of asphalt. 



The judging of meats involves a knowledge of disease which can 
not be assumed or expected to be possessed by butchers. Placing 
diseased meat on the block, unintentionally no less than intention- 
ally, is dangerous to the health of the consumers. For the protection 
of both the butcher and his patrons, therefore, all meat should be 
inspected at the slaughterhouse by someone who is trained in meat 
inspection. As a rule, a veterinarian is best fitted for this work. 
Every local board of health should have a competent veterinarian 
among its members, and the local meat inspection would very natu- 
rally be one of his duties. It seems best, however, that the State 
veterinarian should have control over the slaughterhouses, and the 
writer would even go so far as to advise the appointment of an assist- 
ant State veterinarian whose sole or, at least, most important duty 
should be a sanitary supervision of slaughterhouses. 

There are several reasons for suggesting that the slaughterhouses 
be placed under the State board rather than under the local boards. 
In the first place, the majority of slaughterhouses are located a short 
distance beyond corporation limits, and hence beyond the control of 
the local boards. If, however, these slaughterhouses are licensed by 
the State boards, satisfactory regulations can be imposed. Further- 
more, the sanitary supervision of the grounds can best be performed 
by someone who is entirely independent of local practice, and the 
veterinarian who has this matter in charge should give up his entire 
time to it. A small country town can not, of course, keep a man for 
such duty, but a competent State official could be kept busy. 


As a rule, there is little complaint against slaughterhouses in case 
the odor arising from them is not especially offensive. When com- 
plaint is made, the butcher sometimes cleans up the premises a little 
and the matter is dropped. From the above discussion, however, it 
must be evident that the odor arising from a slaughterhouse is insig- 
nificant when compared with the sanitary side of the question. It 
must also be evident that little will be done to better the existing con- 
ditions unless those directly affected take some decided action in the 
matter. The classes most affected are the farmer and the townspeo- 
ple. The farmer suffers loss in his stock; the townspeople suffer loss 
in health. The townspeople can protect themselves against the dis- 
eases by thoroughly cooking their meats, and their interest in the 
matter then ends. The farmers must protect themselves in some 
other way, and the most natural way is to demand a better regulation 
of the country slaughterhouses. Let the farmer, therefore, take the 
initiative, and for his own protection let him demand a State control 
of these premises. 



To summarize this subject in a few words — 

1. A well-regulated system of slaughterhouses is as necessary to 
the public health as is a well-regulated system of schools to the 
public education. 

2. Every slaughterhouse is a center of disease for the surrounding 
country, spreading trichinosis, echinococcus disease, gid, wireworm, 
and other troubles caused by animal parasites, and tuberculosis, hog 
cholera, swine plague, and other bacterial diseases. 

3. The important factors concerned in spreading these diseases are 
offal feeding, drainage, rats, and dogs. 

4. These diseases may be greatly held in check and in some cases 
entirely eradicated in two ways: First, by a reduction in the number 
of premises on which slaughtering is allowed, on which account it is 
urged as all important that there be a segregation of the slaughter- 
houses, so that all the butchers of any given town will be compelled to 
do all their killing in a common inclosed and restricted area. In 
abandoning slaughterhouses, care should be taken to destroy the rats, 
in order to prevent the spread of infection. Second, by regulating the 
factors concerned in spreading the diseases: (a) Offal feeding should 
be abolished; (6) drainage should be improved; (c) rats should be 
destroyed; and, (d) dogs should be excluded from slaughterhouses. 

5. A licensing of slaughterhouses by the State boards of health 
and the employment of an assistant State veterinarian, whose sole or 
most important duty shall be a sanitary supervision of all places where 
animals are slaughtered for food, are necessary. 

6. The appointment on every local board of health of a competent 
veterinarian, whose duty it shall be to control the class of meat placed 
upon the block, is urged. All meats should be inspected at the time 
of slaughter, thus securing for the local consumer the same guaranty 
that the National Government provides for the foreign consumer and 
for interstate trade. 

7. The prohibiting of the raising of any kind of stock within the 
premises of slaughterhouses is advised, as are also State regulations 
to the effect that when a stock animal (horse, of course, excepted) 
once enters the premises of a slaughterhouse it must never be allowed 
to leave those grounds alive, but must be slaughtered within two 
weeks' time. 

8. It is advisable to use more substantial building material in the 
construction of slaughterhouses. 

9. The country slaughterhouse is more injurious to the farmer than 
to other classes, as he is less able to meet the dangers involved, and 
on this account he is urged to take the initiative in calling for a better 
regulation of places of slaughter. 

10. When a farmer kills stock for his own use, he should burn or 
bury the offal, or cook it in case he feeds it to hogs. 


By Frederick H. Newell, 
Chief Hydrographer, United States Geological Survey. 


The success of agriculture in a distinctly arid region, like the val- 
leys of Utah, where perennial streams flow from snow-capped peaks, 
is a self-evident proposition. There the climate Tenders irrigation 
absolutely essential, and widely distributed, even though small, water 
supplies make it practicable. No settler thinks for a moment of try- 
ing to cultivate the soil until he has provided a means of applying 

In contrast to these conditions are those surrounding the farmer on 
the Great Plains, especially upon the western half. Here the climate 
is far from arid. In certain seasons it may be called humid. The 
settlers coming from the Mississippi Valley have brought with them 
the methods of agriculture adapted to a wet country. In some years 
success is attained by these methods, and wonderful crops encourage 
the breaking up of increased areas next year. Total loss of crops and 
bitter disappointment inevitably follow, however, and the unfortunate 
settlers, if not driven from the country, alternate between short periods 
of prosperity and long intervals of depression. 

The soil of the Great Plains region as a whole is wonderfully rich. 
The irregular and scanty rainfall has not leached out the natural salts, 
so valuable to plant life, and yet has been sufficient to bring about a 
disintegration of the soils to great depths. The sparse herbage, luxu- 
riant at times, is not sufficiently rank to make perceptible drafts 
upon this supply of plant food, and when at long intervals the rainfall 
occurs in proper seasons and quantities the yield from the cultivated 
fields is surprisingly large. 

The area of this fertile land is far greater than that of any one of 
the States of the Union, and while the outlines can not be drawn with 
exactness, yet, in a general way, it may be said that the extent is 
from one-eighth to one-sixth of that of the whole United States. 
Within this vast tract, which embraces portions of Montana, North 
Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, 
Oklahoma, and Texas, thousands of families are resident, and there is 



"room for millions more." (Fig. 31.) The one condition requisite for 
success is that of obtaining and utilizing a sufficient amount of water 
to supplement the deficient rainfall. 

The Great Plains can be characterized as a region of periodical 
famine. Paradoxical as it may be, the countries where great fam- 
ines occur are not those of sterility, but rather those of excessive 
fertility and of salubrious climate, inviting a dense population. Like 
other parts of the globe whore dearth is apt to occur, the soil of the 
plains is extremely rich, the climate agreeable, everything physical 
invites a large population and an increase of animal and vegetable 
life, save in one essential, and that water. Year after year the water 
supply may be ample, the forage plants cover the ground with a rank 
growth, the herds multiply, the settlers extend their fields, when, 
almost imperceptibly, the climate becomes less humid, the rain clouds 

Fig. 31. — Diagram illustrating the relative location and extent of the Great Plains. 

forming day after day disappear upon the horizon, and weeks lengthen 
into months without a drop of moisture. The grasses wither, the herds 
wander wearily over the plains in search of water holes, the crops 
wilt and languish, yielding not even the seed for another year. Fall 
and winter come and go with occasional showers which scarcely seem 
to wet the earth, and the following spring opens with the soil so dry 
that it is blown about over the windy plains. Another and perhaps 
another season of drought occurs, the settlers depart with such of 
their household furniture as can be drawn away by the enfeebled 
draft animals, the herds disappear, and this beautiful land, once so 
fruitful, is now dry and brown, given over to the prairie wolf. Then 
comes a season of ample rains. The prairie grasses, dormant through 
several seasons, spring into life, and with these the hopes of new 


pioneers. Then recurs the flood of immigration, to be continued until 
the next long drought. This alternation of feast and famine is in 
Europe and the East as old as history and bids fair to be repeated 
upon our Great Plains unless American ingenuity, patience, and skill 
shall devise means of successful irrigation. 

The first question that the farmer on the Great Plains asks when 
confronted with the problem of irrigation is, "Where can I get the 
water?" Sometimes the reply is obvious. There is a perennial 
stream which can be reached. But in a great majority of cases this 
is the first and greatest difficulty to be overcome. For each locality 
there are various solutions to the problem. In some cases water can 
be found underground at moderate depths. For example, in many of 
the valleys, especially in those of the larger streams, wells reach an 
abundant supply at depths of from 10 to 20 feet. But the area of 
the valleys is relatively small as compared to the whole extent of the 
Great Plains, and on the "uplands," as the broad divides between 
the rivers are commonly known, water can be had, if at all, only at 
depths of from 100 to 300 feet, or even more. Here, where the sup- 
ply is small and must be lifted through considerable heights, the 
storage of storm waters must be considered. In rare instances it is 
possible to obtain a supply from deep artesian wells, which flow con- 
tinuously a stream of fresh water. Unfortunately, the conditions 
governing the distribution of artesian wells are comparatively re- 
stricted, and these can be had only here and there throughout this 
region. The methods of water supply may, as far as the Great Plains 
region is concerned, be classified as those by gravity from perennial 
springs and streams, by pumping from rivers or underground sources, 
by storage of storm waters, or from artesian wells. Sometimes it is 
possible for the farmer to choose between two or even more of these 
ways of obtaining water, but as a rule he is limited to one. 

Comparing the Great Plains and the arid region, there are to be 
noted many contrasted points which modify the practice of irrigation. 
These arise from the strikingly different forms of each country, its 
physical character or topography. In the arid regions the arable 
lands are mainly in the valleys or partly surrounded by mountains 
from which perennial streams issue with rapid fall. This facilitates 
the construction of canals built above the level of the fields, furnish- 
ing by gravity a relatively large amount of water. On the other hand, 
on the Great Plains are boundless tracts of fertile soil with no water 
within sight except at rare intervals after heavy storms. The under- 
ground supplies, usually small in amount, are widely distributed and 
can not be concentrated at any one spot. 

The temptation to the settler is to make his farm as wide reaching 
as the horizon, and to spread his efforts over hundreds of acres. The 
ever-recurring droughts stimulate him to try and till more land, in 
the hopes that he may recoup his losses in a fortunate year. He is in 


a certain sense a gambler, staking everything upon luck, and with the 
chances against him. With his desperate eagerness to regain in one 
season what he has lost through many years, it is almost impossible 
for him to see that his only hope of permanent success lies in limiting 
his operations to a comparatively few acres, and in cultivating these 
carefully and safely by using the small amount of water which, with 
great care and some expense, he may be able to secure. With his 
large conception he can not content himself with petty details. The 
stern logic of facts, however, is slowly convincing him that, in spite of 
the wealth of land, success lies only in attention to little matters. He 
must go back to the trivial economies of older lands, saving and using 
with judgment every drop of water which falls upon his field, or which 
can be brought to the surface from underground. This is the hardest 
lesson, and one which many men can not learn, preferring to emigrate 
rather than adopt what seems to them an un-American intensive 


The conditions upon the Great Plains are epitomized in western 
Kansas, and therefore a brief discussion of this area may not be out 
of place. It may be asked, why should further efforts and encour- 
agements be given toward the development of agriculture in such 
regions? Has the world not heard enough of droughts and crop 
losses, of famines and suffering, of abandoned farms and worthless 
Kansas mortgages ? Why interpose to prevent the country from going 
back to its former conditions? It was, and can be, a magnificent 
grazing land. As a stock range it will contribute to individual and 
general wealth without great risk of hardships and losses. 

In answer to such questions and assertions, it is not enoxigh to point 
to the hopes of persons desirous of selling out or to the too sanguine 
expectations of those who, encouraged by occasional success, have per- 
sisted in their efforts to make homes. It must be shown that there are 
substantial foundations for such hopes and expectations; that there 
actually exist resources worthy of better directed and more prolonged 

The conditions prevailing in western Kansas are not unique. The 
rich soil and capricious rains are found over vast areas, embracing, 
as before stated, portions of at least ten States. Ultimate success or 
failure in this locality encourages or retards home making in others. 
The struggles in western Kansas are, therefore, not without interest 
to the nation as a whole, for if once victory is assured, hundreds of 
communities will be benefited. Public interest is drawn here because 
attempts at settlement have been made in greater numbers than else- 
where, experiments have been conducted on a larger scale and in a 
character more varied, and the difficulties now appear to be more 
nearly overcome. Thus, it seems proper, as an introduction to general 


investigations in the subhumid Great Plains region, to give first atten- 
tion to western Kansas, to mention the results of trials and failures, 
and to outline what seems to be the road to success. 

At least two things have been clearly proved. One of these is that 
the soil is very rich; the other is that the ordinary methods of farm- 
ing are not adapted to the climatic conditions, and the farmer must 
laboriously unlearn much that he has acquired elsewhere. By re- 
peated failures it has been shown that he must adjust his methods to 
fit more nearly the requirements of nature. 

Hilgard has emphasized the fact that the soils of the arid and sub- 
humid regions are, as a rule, as good as, if not better than, the best 
of those of humid lands. It is incredible that, with these great nat- 
ural advantages of soil and sunshine, American ingenuity and persist- 
ence can not find a way to overcome in some degree the evil results 
of deficient or capricious rainfall. This is the great problem which 
the inhabitants of the subhumid plains have before them, and one to 
which the General Government can properly give attention. Not 
only is the prosperity of several States concerned, but, even more than 
this, the United States is the great land owner, still possessing many 
millions of acres of rich soil which should be put to better use than 
that of furnishing scanty forage. Such lands ' ' deserve the most earn- 
est attention both of agriculturists and of students of natural economy, 
for in them lie possibilities for the abundant sustenance and prosper- 
ity of the human race that have thus far been almost left out of ac- 
count. While it is true that irrigation water may not be practically 
available for the whole of the arid (and subhumid) regions of the 
globe, so much remains to be done in the study of the most econom- 
ical use of the water, of appropriate crops, and of methods of culture 
that even an approximate estimate of actual possibilities in this direc- 
tion can not yet be made. At all events it is of the highest interest 
to study the problem of the reclamation of this intrinsically rich land 
in all its phases." 1 


The settlements upon the Great Plains have proceeded gradually 
westward from the well- watered Mississippi and lower Missouri, 
advancing step by step up the gradual slope which extends toward 
the base of the Rocky Mountains, and pushing by slow degrees into 
the well-defined subhumid regions. The farmers have been tempted 
on and on by the fertility of the soil, which, instead of decreasing in 
richness, has been found to be equal, if not superior, to the lands 
washed by frequent rains. During the years or series of years in 
which the rainfall was more abundant or better distributed through 
the growing season the agricultural areas have leaped forward from 

'Prof. E. W. Hilgard, Steppes, Deserts, and Alkali Lands. Popular Science 
Monthly, p. 609, March, 1896. 


county to county toward the west, and the farmers have deluded 
themselves with the belief that with the breaking of the prairie sod, 
the building of railroads, and the advent of civilization the climate 
was becoming more favorable to their operations. 

Succeeding years, with a rainfall at or below the average, have 
beaten back or driven out many of the financially weaker or more 
easily discouraged of the settlers, and thus the tide of emigration has 
ebbed and flowed, each succeeding wave in general less vigorous than 
the first. Such vicissitudes, however, can not lead to prosperity and 
contentment. It is evident that they can not continue indefinitely, 
and that there must be a better adjustment of man to his environ- 
ment, or he will be the loser in the end. Temporary or trivial expedi- 
ents will not suffice. The heavens have been bombarded in vain, 
both with supplication and with dynamite. Somewhat slowly and 
unwillingly public attention has at last settled itself upon irrigation, 
and in this seems to be the salvation of the country. The water sup- 
ply at best is small and its source and availability have by no means 
been self-evident. There are a few perennial streams within this vast 
area, but these attain notable size mainly at points where the condi- 
tions are such that the water can not be diverted and used econom- 
ically or efficiently. 

The widely distributed and yet relatively small supplies of water 
to which reference has been made are in the pervious, unconsolidated 
rocks or sands underlying portions of the Great Plains, especially 
along and in the vicinity of the broader river valleys. The problem 
of how best to bring these waters to the surface and utilize them is 
that which peculiarly distinguishes the Great Plains. The solution 
is best seen in western Kansas, for here hundreds of individual efforts 
have been made and success has been attained to a larger degree 
than elsewhere. 

Almost anyone can irrigate with plenty of water. In other words, 
where a considerable volume is to be had at any one point within the 
arid or subhumid region a very moderate exercise of skill and judg- 
ment will enable the farmer to produce a crop of some kind. He can 
hardly fail to raise something, even though he drowns out a part of 
his field and leaves another part too dry. There must generally be 
some portion upon which the crops are remunerative. On the other 
hand, where, as in western Kansas, the water must be pumped from 
underground or stored in reservoirs, every gallon means a certain out- 
lay. The quantity is usually limited, and a high degree of skill and 
judgment is required in order to utilize this water to the largest pos- 
sible degree and produce a crop whose value shall repay not only the 
labor of cultivating, but also the cost of the water applied. In the 
case of the little ditches constructed from the mountain torrents in 
the arid region, a comparatively small outlay of labor was required 
in order to bring a considerable stream to the agricultural land. 


"Where the water is to be pumped, however, not only labor, biit some 
capital, must be invested and continued to be employed until the crop 
is ready for the harvest. Since this first investment is usually large, 
and severely taxes the ability of the individual farmer, it is of vast 
importance to him that every step be taken in the right direction and 
that he make no mistakes. 

In the subhumid region, especially where crop failures year after 
year have discouraged the farmers and have brought them almost to 
penury, the few hundred dollars required to start a small irrigating 
plant is a very great sum, and if not rightly expended may mean 
absolute ruin and loss of homestead. It is therefore especially impor- 
tant that in such undertakings no mistake be made. In the valleys 
of the arid region, if a farmer has not properly located his ditch, it 
may be possible for him to alter and improve it by his own labor or 
by assistance from his neighbors, but in the ease of machinery or ap- 
pliances used for raising water changes or alterations are far more 
difficult, if not impossible. 

The attitude of the people of the subhumid region toward irriga- 
tion has been peculiar. They at first deemed it absurd, injurious, 
or impossible, and the man who held that irrigation was the proper 
and best thing was denounced as a public enemy and as casting dis- 
credit upon the region by advertising its disadvantages to the world. 
If he persisted in his unpatriotic course, it was considered enough to 
ask the question, "Where is the water to bo had; even if irrigation is 
of value, where are the rivers from which to derive the supply?" If 
for answer attention was drawn to the ground waters and to the pos- 
sible storage, the idea was regarded as laughable, and the advocate of 
irrigation was again asked, "How can you irrigate a section or even a 
quarter section by such trivial means?" If in reply the scoffers were 
told that it was not proposed to irrigate large areas, but to confine 
the attention of the farmer to 40 acres or even to 10 acres, contempt 
for such methods could scarcely find expression in words. 

The idea that any man on the boundless plains would concentrate 
his energies on 10 acres has seemed ridiculous. Yet this is what stern 
necessity is compelling the farmer to do, and is making him unlearn 
his old habits and methods, relentlessly forcing him to abandon the 
cultivation of great areas, turning them over perhaps to grazing, and 
giving his main attention to the few acres almost within a stone's throw 
of his door. As a rule, the most successful men are those who have 
learned this lesson well, who have tried to do a little less than they 
considered could be done well, and who have practiced an untiring 
perseverance in adopting better methods in applying water and in 
cultivating the soil. 

Within the past few years, or even months, public sentiment has 
undergone so great a change, from ridicule and skepticism to con- 
fidence in irrigation, that there is danger of rushing to the other 


extreme. It is now generally recognized that irrigation is practicable 
at many localities, and with the enthusiasm' that characterizes new 
movements, its sanguine advocates make excessive claims. They 
attempt to show that a great part, if not all, of the country can be 
irrigated, that water can be had almost anywhere, and that with a 
suitable irrigation plant the farmer is insured against all future loss 
and discouragement. The actual conditions are far otherwise. It is 
hardly probable that more than a small percentage of all the fertile 
land can be profitably irrigated, and experience has shown that, while 
irrigation is feasible and profitable, it is so only when something 
besides a supply of water is obtained. Successful irrigation means 
high-grade farming. It means the employment of intelligence and 
persistent labor. Unlike wheat farming, for instance, the work of the 
year is not concentrated into a few weeks or months, but for good 
results must be continued in one form or another almost every day. 
It is not sufficient to raise a single crop or a single kind, but if practi- 
cable two crops at least every year should be raised, one immediately 
following the other, and the diversity should be such that the water 
can be used to good advantage at short intervals. In other words, 
successful irrigation means diversified farming and the highest type 
of agriculture. 

In order to start right, to employ the best device for getting the 
water, to use the water most efficiently and economically, to cover the 
largest area of ground thoroughly, to raise the best crops of fruits, and 
to carry on all the higher specialized methods which make irrigation 
farming profitable, it is neeessary to have a larger knowledge than is 
possessed by the ordinary farmer and to keep abreast of the changes 
or improvements constantly being made. For this reason there is a 
wider field of study required and more opportunity for investigation 
both by the individual, the agricultural experiment station, and the 
experts of the General Government. In many respects our knowl- 
edge of irrigation has as yet advanced little beyond that of the early 
Egyptians. The process has been one of imitation or of individual 
tests through repeated failures. 


The first and greatest problem is where and how to obtain sufficient 
water. Considering irrigated regions as a whole, the source of water, 
outweighing in importance all the rest, is that of the surface streams — 
the creeks and rivers. Secondary to this are the waters of intermit- 
tent streams or of occasional storms held by systems of reservoirs or 
huge tanks; and, third, the waters pumped or lifted from beneath the 
surface. A fourth class might be added, that of flowing wells, but 
these are so unusual in character and occurrence that they can hardly 
be considered as important factors in this method of agriculture. In 
western Kansas, and in the Great Plains region in general, stream 


waters, as lias been pointed out, are exceptional in occurrence, and 
can play but a relatively small part, while on the other hand the 
widespread distribution of water-bearing rocks renders wells of 


The typical river of the Great Plains, and one of the first as regards 
the quantity of flood waters, is the Arkansas. This rises in the moun- 
tains of Colorado, flows in a course a little south of east into Kansas, 
continuing this direction for about 140 miles, then turns toward the 
northeast, and, describing a huge loop or bend, finally passes out of 
Kansas toward the south into Indian Territory. It drains, in round 
numbers, 24, 600 square miles of Colorado before reaching Kansas. Of 
this area, that above Pueblo, 4,600 square miles, may be considered 
as mountainous, yielding a large perennial supply of water. The 
remaining 20,000 square miles are mainly plateaus and undulating 
plains from which an insignificant amount of water flows, except in 
time of flood, when vast volumes are poured into the stream, swell- 
ing it in a few hours to a raging torrent. The average discharge of 
the river at Canyon City, 70 miles above Pueblo, is a little over 800 
seeond-feet, and at Pueblo 1,200 second-feet. The greater part of 
this water is used for irrigation, and during the spring and summer 
little, if any, passes into Kansas exeept that from a local storm or a 
cloud-burst. At one such time a quantity of water amounting to 
30,000 second-feet or more was discharged for several hours, washing 
out bridges and causing general destruction. This amount was doubt- 
less increased to 40,000 or 50,000 second-feet by the time it reached the 
Kansas line. 

Along the Arkansas River in Colorado almost innumerable ditches 
and canals are taking out water, and in particular below Pueblo are 
the large irrigating systems under which is a considerable part of the 
agricultural population of the State. Many of the larger canal com- 
panies have constructed tight dams across the river eapable of divert- 
ing the entire low-water flow of the stream. These are placed at 
intervals of from 10 to 20 miles or more. In the case of those pos- 
sessing priority of rights, the entire discharge of the stream is taken 
and the bed of the river is left dry below the dam. In the case of 
others a certain portion of the water is allowed to pass by the dam 
under the direction of the water commissioners. Even though all the 
water is taken at one point, there is usually a sufficient amount of 
seepage to supply a small stream in the river bed, and this, increas- 
ing in the course of a few miles, furnishes, even in times of extreme 
drought, a small amount to the canal heading next below. 

The aggregate capacity of the canals constructed or partially com- 
plete is far in excess of the ordinary flow of the river, and even by the 
employment of all the seepage water there must apparently be less 
than the amount needed for the cultivation of all the arable lands 


under the extensive systems. Reservoirs are already being built to 
hold a part of the flood -waters of the river, and it is highly probable 
that larger undertakings must be shortly inaugurated if a permanent 
supply is to be assured for canals now under construction. 

Owing to the large and increasing utilization of the water of the 
Arkansas River in Colorado, the bed of the river is dry, through the 
greater part of the year, at points above the Kansas line, and there 
are comparatively few weeks during which a notable stream is flowing. 
As a whole, the time during which water is flowing in the river must 
decrease as irrigation above increases, and there will ultimately be a 
condition of things in which only the excess water of floods will pass 
down. Thus little dependence can be placed on the surface waters 
of the Arkansas River, and if irrigation in Kansas were dependent 
upon these it Avould be doomed. 

The same general statement applies to the Platte River and to other 
lesser streams coming from high mountains and crossing the plains. 
The headwaters of the Platte interlace with those of the Arkansas, and 
the minor tributaries flowing eastward and northward are to a large 
extent diverted into canals within the foothill region. The South 
Platte is thus deprived, for the greater part of the year, of all water 
long before reaching the Nebraska line. The North Platte, on the 
other hand, flows through a less populous region, and its waters have 
not been taken out in Wyoming to an extent to appreciably affect the 
annual flow. With the completion of many projects now on foot it 
appears probable that the large irrigation canals in the lower part of 
the river may at times be deprived of the full flow of the stream. 

Besides the mountain rivers there are a considerable number of 
streams whose sources are well within the Great Plains. These derive 
their supply from springs fed by the rain water caught in thick depos- 
its of sands and gravels. The waters thus obtained percolate slowly 
toward the lowest points, and are discharged in springs often perennial 
in character. These streams, however, have usually a gentle grade 
and can not readily be diverted into canals. Their waters, as a rule, 
are available only through some method of pximping. 


The localities which can be supplied by ditches from perennial 
streams are, as may be inferred from what has been said, relatively 
small when compared with the total extent of fertile land. Even along 
water courses which on a map appear to be of considerable size a care- 
ful survey shows that there are not many points where a reliable sup- 
ply can be had. On the other hand, it is evident that from the size of 
the catchment basin and the known rainfall there must be a consid- 
erable volume of flood waters. The question at once arises whether 
a portion at least of this excess can be held for a few weeks or months 
until the time of need. It is well known that in other countries 


irrigation is successfully practiced by means of water storage, and a 
large agricultural population prospers in a dry country where no living 
streams are to be found. Fortunately there are a number of examples 
of the utilization of this source of supply. Instances can be cited 
showing its feasibility and also indicating the disadvantages attending 
it and the obstacles to be overcome. 

The reports showing the quantity of water flowing in the streams 
from time to time give the gross amount, both in flood and in time of 
drought. These figures, however, may be somewhat deceptive, espe- 
cially those which give the maxmium discharge of the stream; and 
estimates of reclamation of arid lands should not be based wholly upon 
the maximum quantities, for the reason that it is obviously impracti- 
cable in many instances to store this, great quantity of water. Stor- 
age projects at best are expensive, and to repay their cost and be of 
benefit to the farmers each reservoir should receive yearly a sufficient 
quantity of water to nearly fill it. 

There are few localities where it will be possible to hold water from 
one year to another on account of the expense involved, and by far 
the greater number of projects must depend upon a constant supply 
of water. To do this it will be impracticable to construct reservoirs of 
such size as to hold the greatest flood, and as a general rule it may 
be said that engineers will favor a reservoir whose content is some- 
what less than the average storm discharge of the stream. To illus- 
trate : If the stream from which the water is to be taken discharges in 
one year three times as much as in the year preceding or the year 
succeeding, it will rarely be profitable to construct a reservoir of size 
sufficient to hold more than the smaller flood mentioned; for if built 
to hold the highest flood it may be only partially filled for several 
years in succession. Theoretically, it would be better to hold the 
highest flood and keep the water over from year to year; but practi- 
cally there are so few localities where this can be done that these 
places may be regarded as exceptional. 

The construction of reservoir dams of any considerable size should 
not be undertaken without consulting an experienced engineer. In 
fact, there should be a provision in the law of every State requiring 
supervision of such construction by competent State engineers. A 
dam is in one respect a defiance of nature, and all its forces con- 
spire to pull the structure away sooner or later. It must therefore be 
carefully watched and afforded every protection, for a slight leak or 
the overtopping of the dam by an excessive flood may mean destruc- 
tion of property, and even of human life. 

The possible dangers from dams should not, however, act as a 

deterrent, any more than the occasional accidents upon railroads 

should be considered as sufficient argument for their restriction. 

With proper care storage reservoirs can be made, as shown by 

12 A96 12 


the history of India, to last for many centuries, benefiting great 
communities. By using proper precautions a farmer may build upon 
Ms own land earth, rock, or timber dams which, if properly kept in 
repair, will be of incalculable benefit. (PI. III.) 


The most important source of supply for the Great Plains region 
is, and probably always will be, wells. There is reason to believe 
that considerable areas will be irrigated by gravity systems from the 
rivers and from storage reservoirs, large and small, built to catch 
the intermittent streams and flood waters ; but taking all things into 
consideration, it will be conceded that ordinarily wells can be had 
over a larger area and possess such advantages that they must come 
first in the development of agriculture by irrigation on the plains. 

Irrigation by water from a well, if the latter yields a good supply at 
moderate depth from the surface, possesses certain advantages over 
that from a gravity supply, in spite of the usually greater annual cost 
of procuring the water. The wells and the source of water are, as a 
rule, under the individual eontrol of the irrigator. It is not necessary 
for him to combine with other men and to invest large capital in a com- 
plicated undertaking before he can receive any benefit. It is often 
possible for the farmer to dig or drill the well himself, and he can pur- 
chase, sometimes on credit if necessary, the machinery, windmill, or 
pump for bringing the water to the surface. Being under his own 
supervision, he can apply the water whenever in his judgment the 
plants need it, not being compelled to wait his turn or to take water 
at inconvenient times, whether day or night, according as it may be 
allotted under a large irrigating system. 

Considering any one locality or farm, the question whether the water 
supply can be obtained is one for determination on the spot. It is 
often possible for the farmer to judge from the experience of his neigh- 
bors whether he can sink a well successfully at one point or another. 
If, however, his place differs widely in general location or in other con- 
ditions, so that he can not safely use the experience of others, then he 
must either trast to chance and dig his well at a point where it will be 
most convenient or, if practicable, consult some geologist or other 
person who has made a careful scientific study of such matters. In 
determining upon the location for a well it is generally useless to 
consult the professional well driller, unless he has put down other 
wells within a few miles and has considerable local knowledge. It 
seems hardly worth stating in this connection that money expended 
in the employment of the so-called "water witches," or men who use 
the divining rod, is worse than futile, as it merely encourages fraud. 

It is often assumed that because the plains have such a uniform 
outward appearance their underground structure must necessarily be 
as featureless. But, on the contrary, there is a considerable diversity 

Reservoir and Windmill used in Irrigation. 


in the order of arrangement beneath the surface. In some places 
there are thick beds of sand and gravel filled with water, from which 
such quantities can be obtained as to lead to the popular statement 
that the wells are inexhaustible. On the other hand, large tracts 
have, at a short distance beneath the surface, impervious beds of 
shale of a thickness of a thousand feet or more, containing little water, 
and this usually brackish or strongly saline, so that wells sunk into 
it are valueless. All these conditions of underground structure are 
the results of different conditions prevailing in past geologic ages and 
are capable of exact definition and mapping by the skilled geologist, 
so that when once the area has been thoroughly studied there should 
be no uncertainty to perplex the individual farmer as to whether it 
will pay him to invest money in wells, or whether by going deeper he 
could improve his supply. 

It has sometimes been asserted that water from wells is not as val- 
uable for purposes of irrigation as that from rivers, because the lat- 
ter, especially during spring floods, bring a considerable amount of 
silt, which, during irrigation, is carried out on the land and being de- 
posited serves as a fertilizer. The importance of this effect is in the 
popular mind often greatly exaggerated. The greater part of the silt 
brought into a canal is deposited in the main ditches and laterals, fill- 
ing these, and necessitating a considerable annual outlay to keep them 
clean. The amount of material which actually is deposited upon the 
cultivated land is in general insignificant, not being equal to a few 
loads of ordinary fertilizer. This has been pointed out by Prof. E. 
W. Hilgard. 1 He shows that even in the case of the Mle the mud 
deposited amounts to only about 5 tons per acre, and that similar 
lands irrigated by clear water are just as productive. It is not so 
much the fertilizing character of the sediment as it is the scarcity of 
rainfall and the consequent freedom of the soil from leaching, as well 
as the benefieial effeets of the warm, dry climate, which produce the 
great crops. 

Well waters possess a more decided advantage in their freedom from 
noxious seeds. In the waters of the ordinary ditches, deriving their 
supply from a stream flowing through several valleys, there is usually 
to be found a great variety of seeds blown in by the wind or picked 
up during floods. These are carried along into the laterals and out 
over the fields, causing plants to start, some of which are exceedingly 
diflieult to eradicate. This is especially true if a new crop of weeds 
is allowed to gain headway after eaeh irrigation. 


After the farmer has settled upon the source from which water for 
irrigation can be obtained, the next problem which he encounters is 
that of bringing the water to the point where it is to be used. If the 

1 Popular Science Monthly, March, 1896, p. 605. 


source of supply is at a higher level than the land to be irrigated, this 
is usually a simple matter. This may be considered the rule through- 
out the greater part of the irrigated area of the arid region, as the 
water is brought by gravity through canals and ditches from streams 
diverted at some point higher than the lands to be irrigated and car- 
ried often by circuitous routes to secure a gentle grade. If water is 
stored in a small reservoir or tank on the farm, it can of course be 
conducted either through earthen ditches or by pipes or flumes, accord- 
ing to the undulations of the ground. In the Great Plains region, 
however, the greater part of the water for irrigation is to be found 
either underground or in ponds or streams whose banks are of such 
character that, as before stated, gravity ditches are out of the ques- 


Fig. 32.— A homemade jumbo windmill. 

tion, or where the lands to be irrigated He above the usual water level. 
The great problem, then, of obtaining water is that of pumping it at 
a cost so low that this operation can be performed with profit. 

The question of pumping water merely is not a difficult one. 
Devices for lifting water are older than written history, and various 
forms of pumps are used on almost every farm in the country, every 
citizen being familiar with a number of ways of lifting water. (Fig. 32. ) 
But the question is not simply to lift the water. It must be lifted 
in large quantities, and, more than this, the cost of so doing must 
be extremely low— so low that it shall bear but a small proportion to 
the value of the crops produced. This last requirement is really the 
obstacle to the widespread development of agriculture by irrigation 


upon the Great Plains. There the distances are great from farm to 
town and from the producer to the consumer, and the value of the 
crops are correspondingly low; so low, in fact, that undoubtedly many 
products are not worth what they have cost if the farmer's labor were 
considered as being paid for at moderate wages. To pump water, 
therefore, to increase the yield of wheat or corn which must compete 
with that raised in humid regions is obviously out of the question. 

The cost of pumping the great quantities of water used in irrigation 
prohibits the raising of water to heights of much over 50 feet. There 
are, of course, exceptions to any such rule, especially in the case of 
windmills and of hydraulic engines or water wheels. Claims are made 
that irrigation water has been pumped or lifted to heights of 200 feet, 
but such instances are rare and not well authenticated. 


In considering what kind of a pump to use, the farmer must of neces- 
sity determine at the same time upon the motive power, for, while 
some pumps are independent and may be driven by almost any kind 
of an engine or even by animal power, others are inseparably connected 
with the actuating mechanism or are designed for some particular pur- 
pose, as, for example, a windmill. 

The simplest device for raising water is the open bucket. This 
when suspended from a well-sweep or hung in various ways has been 
used from long before the dawn of civilization down to the present 
day. In India and Egypt, where human labor is exceedingly cheap, 
considerable areas are irrigated by water lifted by men using buckets 
or woven baskets. Such methods are of course inapplicable to this 
country, but by having the buckets driven by machinery there results 
one of the simplest and most efficient devices. This idea occurred to 
primitive man, and there are to be found throughout the Old World 
water wheels carrying buckets on their rims lifting water into elevated 
troughs, or buckets tied together in an endless chain by ropes and 
lifted by animal power. This latter is known as the Persian wheel, 
perhaps one of the most widely employed mechanisms for irrigation, of 
great antiquity, and yet reinvented in almost every rural community. 
These wheels, or bucket pumps, as now used for irrigation, consist of 
an endless chain of small buckets extending down into the well and 
up vertically to the height to which water must be delivered to flow 
out to the land. This height is in practice limited to about 20 feet. 
The buckets descending empty and ascending filled are discharged at 
the highest point. (Fig. 33.) The machinery for raising them may 
be driven either by horse power, as in the case of a thrashing ma- 
chine, or by a steam engine. Windmills have been used but little for 
this purpose, owing to their varying speed. In this kind of pump 
the water is lifted with the minimum amount of friction and useless 
expenditure of energy. 


A modification of the common Persian wheel used to a small extent 
for irrigation is the form in which the buckets, instead of moving 
freely upward, pass through a pipe or a long rectangular box in which 
they fit quite closely. Instead of being of bucket form, they may be 
flat, and are then known as "flights." These, ascending with consid- 
erable rapidity, carry ahead of them a body of water of which only 
a small proportion has time to run backward in the course of its 
progress from the bottom to the top. 

By far the greater number and variety of ordinary pumps may be 

classed under the head of piston 
or plunger. These are almost 
infinite in number and are the 
kind ordinarily employed with 
a windmill. They depend for 
their action upon two or more 
valves and upon the lifting or 
displacing of the water by the 
alternate forward and back, or 
in and out, movement of the 
piston rod. In general princi- 
ples these pumps are too well 
known to require description. 
In size they range from the ordi- 
nary pitcher pump, to be found 
at almost every country house, 
up to the massive water cylin- 
ders of the compound condens- 
ing engine built for great cities 
or for draining extensive mines. 
Their cost is as varied as their 
size and intricacy, and can best 
be ascertained by each individ- 
ual consulting for himself the 
nearest dealer or the catalogues 
of well-known manufacturers. 
For irrigation such pumps are 
driven by windmills, by steam 

Fio. 33.— Bucket pump operated by windmill. 

engines, or by gasoline or hot-air motors, and in some instances, notably 
in the vicinity of Grand Junction, Colo. , and on the Yakima River in 
Washington, by water wheels. Although widely known and generally 
used for pumping, jet for purposes of irrigation they are apparently 
being supplanted to a considerable extent by valveless pumps, such 
as the Persian- wheel type or the centrifugal form. 

The centrifugal pumps possess an advantage not only in being valve- 
less, and therefore less liable to injury by sand and floating obstacles, 
but also in the fact that they run continuously in one direction and do 



not have the reciprocating motion of the various forms of plunger. 
The principle of their action is that of a rapidly whirling body throw- 
ing objects from its surface. Blades of suitably proportioned fans 
are caused to revolve rapidly in the water, and the masses thrown 
away are confined in a box or pipe in such manner as to be forced up- 
ward or outward, their place being supplied by succeeding quantities. 
These pumps are designed not only for purposes of lifting water, but 
even for transporting mud, sand, and gravel, and therefore can not 
be seriously injured by the muddy water often used for irrigation. As 
a rule, they are driven by steam power, as their efficiency depends upon 
the rapidity of motion. Some forms of centrifugal pump, however, 
have been designed for use with horse power (fig. 34) and even for 
Closely related to the centrifugal pumps are various forms of rotary 

Fio. 31.— Centrifugal pump operated by horse power. 

water engines, in which the moving parts, instead of traversing for- 
ward and backward the length of the cylinder, revolve around in it 
or in several portions of cylinders lying side by side. These also de- 
pend for efficiency upon rapid motion, and are so constructed that 
ordinary muddy water does not injure them. 

Besides the types above described there are a number of hydraulic 
engines, such as rams or modified siphons, which depend for their effi- 
ciency upon the momentum of a column of water suddenly brought to 
rest. The ramming force of this large column sends forward a small 
part of the total amount to a higher elevation than that of the source 
of the main supply. These devices are useful wherever they can be 
installed, but they only deliver from one-seventh to one-tenth or less 
of the water which falls from a higher to a lower elevation, and they 
have therefore a limited use. 


There are also offered to the irrigators a few pumps of low lifting 
power whose action is due to the condensing of steam and the conse- 
quent inrush of water to fill the vacuum created. These pumps, 
though extremely simple in principle, are often complicated in con- 
struction, and have in many instances failed to operate properly when 
not under the direct charge of a skilled mechanic. 

In placing any form of pump in a well, care must be taken that the 
water flows freely toward it. For this reason it is desirable that wells 
from which considerable quantities of water are pumped shall be of 
sufficient size and shape to enable observation to be made of the 
behavior of the pump and of the level of the water surface. In 
many cases irrigators, misled by the common use of the term "under- 
flow," have assumed that the water underground must flow rapidly to 
their wells and have sunk pipes into the water-bearing strata, connect- 
ing pumps to these as though they led directly to an open body of 
water. Powerful windmills have been provided and strong pumps 
attached in utter ignorance of the fact that the water can percolate 
but slowly through the ordinary sands and gravels. As a result, dis- 
appointment and loss of investment have ensued, and the farmer, 
instead of digging out a suitable well, has condemned the pumping 
machinery as defective. If an open pit had been provided in the first 
instance, he would at least have seen where the source of trouble lay 
and probably have been able to secure a larger supply of water by sink- 
ing numerous connecting wells. 


Of the devices for operating pumps for irrigation upon the Great 
Plains, windmills are undoubtedly the most important, and they will 
always remain so from the fact that the winds blow almost incessantly 
over this vast country. The power of the wind in the aggregate is 
something that can not be comprehended, and the windmills at best 
utilize only a small fraction of the force available in an infinitely 
small part of the moving air. As far as the total power is concerned, 
it is impossible to build machines too big, but mechanical skill soon 
reaches a limit. Practical application stops far short of the theoret- 
ical possibilities. A high degree of efficiency is not as essential as in 
the case of steam and other motors, because of the fact that there is 
power in excess and costing nothing. In the ordinary steam engines, 
however, fuel is the great item of expense, and the amount used must 
be cut down even at considerable outlay in first cost of machinery. 

The forms of windmill are so diverse that a volume would be re- 
quired to describe them, but for the purpose of raising water for irri- 
gation the available types are comparatively restricted. There are, 
however, a considerable number of windmills on the market, many of 
which are being xised successfully for raising water for agricultural 
purposes. It is, of course, impossible to recommend specifically any 


of these, but the farmer intending to introduce irrigation should ascer- 
tain what kind of windmills, if any, are used in his locality or county, 
and endeavor to make use of the experience of others. If this cau 
not be done, negotiations should be entered into with reputable firms 
who have been handling windmills for a number of years and whose 
business standing is such that they can not afford to sell or erect an 
inefficient machine. By taking these precautions the farmer will be 
reasonably sure of obtaining a good mill. 

All things considered, the simpler the mechanism of a windmill the 
better. For use upon the Great Plains a complete metal construction 
is preferable to wood. One warning should be given, however, that 
extreme lightness and cheapness of construction should be looked 
upon with suspicion. There are a considerable number of mills on the 
market whose first cost is low, but whose expense for maintenance 
and repairs is extremely great. 

The cost of a good windmill erected in place and attached to an 
efficient pump will of course be dependent not only upon the kind 
of machinery, but also upon the location of the pumping plant, the 
cost of freightage and handling being a relatively important item. 
In round numbers it maybe said, however, that upon the Great Plains, 
at moderate distances from a railroad, a windmill with wheel 8 feet in 
diameter and suitable pump placed at a depth, say, of from 20 to 40 feet 
from the surface can be had complete for from $70 to $125, a 12-foot 
mill will cost from $100 to $200, and a 16-foot mill from $175 to $300. 
The cost of the individual items can best be ascertained from dealers' 
catalogues, as these fluctuate with the changes and improvements 
introduced. It is, as a rule, wiser in procuring an irrigating plant of 
this character to purchase a moderate-sized or small wheel at first, 
this being properly proportioned to the size of the pump and the 
amount of water to be had. If the farmer is successful with this 
smaller machinery, he can readily supplement it by other windmills at 
a later time, and by giving careful attention to the details of a small 
mill and limited acreage he will have greater chances of success. 

Attention to details is, in fact, the keynote to good fortune, not only 
with the windmills and other machinery, but in the practice of irriga- 
tion itself. The windmill is a piece of machinery which, with moder- 
ate care and the exercise of common sense in keeping it oiled and 
properly adjusted, will last for many years. But no matter how sim- 
ple or how strong, it can not be expected to run month after month 
without care. It has sometimes been assumed that irrigation is the 
lazy man's Way of farming, and that all there is to be done is to procure 
a supply of water and let it flow upon the ground. It is through this 
mistaken idea that so many failures have been made upon the Great 
Plains. It does not follow that where the rainfall is slightly deficient 
all that has to be done is merely to supply this shortage. Far more 
than this is essential. Not only must all the devices for getting the 


water to the ground be kept in constant order, but the soil itself must 
be given unremitting attention in cultivation after each watering. 

As a general rule, it may be said that the fast-running windmills 
with backgearing are most successful. In these the pump rod is not 
connected directly with the shaft of the mill, making a stroke for every 
turn of the wheel, but a gearing is interposed, with the result that 
usually two or more revolutions of the wheel are required in each 
stroke of the pump. This reduces the resistance to the turning of 
the wheel, allows it to run in a lower wind, and thus results in the 
pump being operated on an average for a greater number of hours per 
day. If a plunger pump is used, it is desirable to have one with a rel- 
atively long stroke, so geared that in moderately high winds the 
motion will not be so rapid as to cause the machinery to pound at the 
beginning and end of each stroke. As ordinarily constructed, a con- 
siderable portion of the force of the windmill is employed destruc- 
tively in a rapid succession of sudden jerks on the pump rod in its 
alternate up and down motion. For this reason a continuous-running 
pump, such as a centrifugal, would be more efficient if the driving 
power were uniform. 


The most obvious means of driving a pump, after the windmill, is 
the steam engine. Many farmers have already an engine for thrash- 
ing purposes or for other work on a farm. It is comparatively a sim- 
ple matter to use this in driving a suitable pump, and the expense is 
in many localities so low that it is done with success. Where, how- 
ever, fuel is expensive, as it is liable to be upon the Great Plains, or 
where it is necessary to employ a man of some considerable skill to 
run the engine, the cost may be prohibitory. Theoretically, it would 
be practicable for a number of farmers having moderate capital to 
join together in the erection of a pumping plant similar to that con- 
structed for city purposes. Many estimates have been made showing 
that under certain conditions of cost of fuel and efficiency of engines 
the first and annual expense for water is less than that from the aver- 
age of the larger canals throughout the country. Practically, how- 
ever, this condition has not yet been realized, and so far as can be 
ascertained there are no steam pumping plants in successful opera- 
tion upon the Great Plains. A few have been erected, but from one 
cause or another these have not proved financially successful. 

Next to steam come the gas or gasoline and hot-air engines. The 
makers of these claim that they can be used with great efficiency, 
and in a number of instances they are reported to be in active oper- 
ation. Either the first cost or the cost of the gasoline and of repairs 
must be greater than admitted by the owners or else there are practi- 
cal difficulties in their operation. The fact seems to be that up to 
the present time few of these pumping plants have been installed. 
These engines usually require very little care and attention while in 
good order. 



Having determined upon a well or similar source of supply and a 
method of raising the water to a height sufficient to cause it to flow 
to the land to be irrigated, the next point to be considered is that of 
reservoir and ditches. Where storm waters are employed, the loca- 
tion of the reservoir is governed by the slope of the land, and the 
construction of this, if of considerable size, should be under the super- 
vision of a competent engineer. With the ordinary windmill irriga- 
tion it is usually the case that the reservoir can be placed where most 
convenient. It is therefore desirable to so locate the point of storage 
that the ditches leading from it will carry the water to all points of 
the fields to be irrigated rapidly, and yet without such great fall as 
to wash the earth. 


The necessity of a place for storing water where it is pumped or 
obtained in small quantities at a time arises from the fact that irri- 
gation is only possible when a sufficient "head" of water is at hand 
to produce a stream of as great size and velocity as can be readily 
controlled by one man with a hoe or spade. It is impracticable to 
irrigate directly from the ordinary windmill, because of the fact that 
the stream of water turned into a ditch may continue for hours or 
even days without wetting the ditch for a distance of more than 50 to 
100 feet from the well. The water soaks into the ground as fast as it 
is pumped upon it. But if this same amount of water is held in a 
tank or earthen reservoir of sufficient size, and is allowed to accumu- 
late during several days and nights of continuous pumping, there is 
then at hand a sufficient volume to make it possible to irrigate even 
the most porous of soils. The gate of the reservoir, when opened, 
allows a stream of such size to issue that only a relatively small pro- 
portion can soak into the ground on its way to the cultivated lands. 

Upon the Great Plains the method in most general use for holding 
water is that of utilizing small artificial ponds with earthen walls. 
In a few instances wooden tanks are used, constructed of staves held 
in place by iron bands, and similar to the water tanks constructed by 
railroad companies. The size of these latter, however, is limited 
and their cost relatively great, their disadvantage in this direction 
more than outweighing the economy effected by reducing the loss 
from leakage and evaporation. 

In locating and constructing a small earthen pond it is necessary 
to consider not only the convenience of getting water into and out of 
it, but also the conditions which determine the losses. The greatest 
of these is through leaks in the sides or seepage through the bottom, 
and next to this is evaporation. This takes place only from the 
surface of water, and therefore the waste in this direction can be 
reduced by making the surface as small as possible relatively to the 


volume of water held. If two reservoirs are constructed, one 100 feet 
square and holding water to the depth of 1 foot, the other 50 feet on 
each side and holding 4 feet of water, the loss by evaporation from 
the first will be four times as great as from the second, because it 
exposes four times the surface area. That this loss from evaporation 
is a matter worthy of consideration may be seen from the fact that in 
the Great Plains region, with its dry winds and bright sunlight, the 
loss of water each day during the summer may be from one-quarter 
to one-half inch in depth, and during windy days may be upward of 
an inch. If, however, the depth of the reservoir is increased in order 
to diminish losses by evaporation, there is danger of increasing the 
pressure to such an extent as to force water out in leaks through 
the banks or bottom. Greater care must therefore be taken in con- 

In order to prevent loss of water by leaking, it is desirable to select, 
if practicable, a place where the soil or subsoil is composed of a rather 
compact clay or of clayey loam. If, however, it is impracticable to 
find the right kind of soil at the desired elevation, then the reservoir 
can be built, but greater caution must be exercised. The size must 
depend upon the amount of water to be had. As a rule, the reservoirs 
on the Great Plains are from 50 to 100 feet across. In shape they are 
circular, oblong, square, or rectangular. The circular form offers the 
advantage of presenting the least amount of surface for a content of 
a given quantity. The same is true of the square form as compared 
with the rectangular. Some irrigators, however, consider that either 
the oblong or rectangular shape is preferable to the circular or square 
form, because, if constructed with the long diameter or width across 
the path of the prevailing winds, the waves created are smaller and 
less destructive to the banks. This is a matter of considerable 
importance where these are built of extremely fine, friable material. 

Having determined upon the location, shape, and size of the reser- 
voir, the first operation is to plow up and strip off the sod and surface 
soil where the banks are to be placed. All the sods, roots, and litter 
should be cleared away and the ground plowed, in order to make it 
possible to bind the new earth thoroughly with the undisturbed sub- 
soil. Earth is then hauled in by scraper or wagon and dumped upon 
the foundation thus prepared. It should always be brought in small 
quantities and thoroughly trampled by the horses or pressed down by 
the wagon wheels before another layer is put in place. If practicable, 
it is desirable, in building the reservoir walls, to raise the outside 
edges slightly above the center of the wall and let in, from time to 
time, sufficient water to thoroughly wet the earth, causing it to settle 
more compactly. 

The width of the foundation will depend upon the height of the wall 
to be built. It is usually at least three times the latter, so as to allow 
gentle slopes both on the inside and outside of the reservoir. It is 


preferable to have slopes of at least li to 1, that is, for a distance 
measured horizontally on the ground of 1| feet the rise should only be 
1 foot. The top of the reservoir banks shoiild be at least 2 feet wide. 
If, therefore, the bank is 5 feet high, the slopes on each side will extend 
1\ feet. Adding to this the width of the center will make 17 feet in 
all for the foundation. Earth for building a wall should not as a rule 
be taken from inside the reservoir, as this serves to lower the bottom 
and may cause it to leak, or by being below the general level the pond 
can not be completely drained. 

In building the walls one of the first things to consider is the outlet. 
This should be placed in such a position that the water will be deliv- 
ered conveniently to the ditches, and its position should be so low that 
it will completely empty the reservoir. This outlet should be provided 
with a valve or gate on the inner side, so arranged that it is accessi- 
ble at all times. It is usual to construct this outlet of boards or plank 
in the form of a long box of from 8 to 18 inches in width and height. 
For permanence it might be better to use a metal pipe, but it is prob- 
able that the wooden outlet will serve for a sufficient number of years. 

^' ; ^p^^^it: : . : 'SiSi^^' < ^-' :-^V^ ^-'^: i v;!^ : , 4 , ' v?;' ? ' ? ffV : ? ^ 

■ • ■ -••.•..;.-.. ••. ;. !^.^j_:- * a.-.c . . - . ■ " . . ... • '.•.P.KK. 

Fig. 35.— Section of reservoir bank showing outlet. 

Having placed the outlet box or pipe in proper position, great care 
must be taken in building the wall at this particular place to secure 
a tight joint. Clay should be carefully tamped around and under the 
box, and as an additional precaution it is well to provide the box with 
wings or ribs projecting outward into the earth bank and preventing 
the percolation of water along the contact plane between earth and the 
wood or metal. The gate on the inside end of the outlet may be of 
any one of a great variety of forms, from a simple board placed securely 
against the end to the expensive metal valve used for city purposes. 
One of the simplest and most efficient gates in use consists of a broad 
plank covering the end of the box, which is cut off in such a position 
as to slope diagonally upward and toward the bank. The place of 
contact between the end of the box and plank covering it is lined with 
leather or some similar substance, insuring a tight joint. The plank 
covering is hinged on the upper side and is extended diagonally 
upward by a stout bar. When this is grasped and pulled toward the 
bank, the valve is opened against the pressure of the water, and when 
the bar is released it is automatically closed. (Fig. 35.) 


After the reservoir walls are built they should be protected against 
the washing of the waves. This can be done by placing heavy sod 
upon them, or, better, by covering them at the water line with broken 
rock if this can be had. An efficient form of protection is made by 
roughly weaving willow twigs into a mat and holding this in place 
by stone or large sod. In course of time the willow takes root and 
holds the soil in place. In a small reservoir old pieces of plank thrown 

upon the water will 
lvMEHSv jS3k,,.. .. ... , often suffice, as these 

rC*;--'v»-s drift over to the side 
'^ <*> a <-■ <•«!,, ;,w i ■■•* v exposed to the waves 

Fig. 33.— Section of field and lateral ditch. 

and break their force. 
The next step is to render the bottom thoroughly tight by what is 
known as puddling. If the soil is clayey, it may not be necessary to 
resort to this, but if composed of a light, sandy material there may be 
necessity for considerable care and for the exercise of much patience 
before the reservoir will be made reasonably tight. Puddling is accom- 
plished by letting in an amount of water sufficient to make mud and 
then driving animals round and round until with their feet they have 
completely worked up all portions of the bottom, destroying the poros- 
ity by trampling fine material into every minute orifice. If there is 
not a sufficient amount of clayey material to form a muddy mass, then 
it will be necessary to haul in a few loads of clay. Short straw, litter, 
and manure can also be used to advantage in a sandy soil. By con- 
tinuing this process of puddling and adding such materials a reservoir, 
even on extremely loose soil, can be made reasonably tight. 


From the reservoir, whether constructed on a large scale to hold 
storm water or of small size to receive the discharge from a pump, 
there must be pro- 
vided suitable 
means of conduct- 
ing the water to the 
land. The simplest, 
cheapest, and most 
widely used is the 
open earth ditch 
(fig. 36)builtinsueh r , „,.,,. t . , . 

v ° ' , , Fig. 37.— Section of raised ditch. 

a way as to have a 

gentle, uniform grade sufficiently great for the water to flow with rapid- 
ity and yet not to wash the banks. As no natural surface is absolutely 
uniform, it is necessary, in order to secure this grade, that the ditch 
wind about, following the contour of the surface. It is desirable, how- 
ever, on account of economy of expense and of water, that all ditches 
should be as nearly straight as possible, and to save distance it is 
sometimes necessary to build up the ditch upon a mound (fig. 37) or, if 



the depression to be crossed is too great, to construct a flume. It would 
of course be better to use a pipe laid directly from the reservoir to the 
point where water is to be distributed, but the expense, even of the 
cheapest forms, is too great to justify their use to any considerable 
extent for such crops as are raised upon the Great Plains. In Cali- 
fornia where the citrus and other semitropic fruits are produced, with 
a value of from $100 to $200 or more per acre, and where water is 
exceedingly expensive, pipes of wood, earthenware, and wrought and 
cast iron are largely used. 



^mWsmmsssW ^\\m\\\\\m\te »\m\m^mvv^Uvw ^\\\\\\\m\m\\\^ 


Fig. 38.— Sections and elevations of flumes. 

To lay out a ditch, if a considerable distance is to be traversed, it 
is desirable to use a surveyor's level and run upon a determinate 
grade. If this is not practicable and the farmer has not had sufficient 
experience to judge grades by the eye, a simpler device can be used. 
This consists of a straightedge or stiff board 16 to 20 feet long, so 
arranged that a carpenter's level can be attached. If the fall is to be 
one-fourth or one-half of an inch per rod (about the usual grade) , a little 
pin is fastened to one end of the board projecting downward this dis- 
tance. At the starting point a small stake is driven into the ground and 
the end of the straightedge placed upon it. The other end carrying the 

Fro. 39.— Combined wood and iron flume. 

projecting pin is swung on a level until it strikes the ground, then a 
small stake is driven down until with the projecting pin of the straight- 
edge upon it the leveling bubble is in the center. The straightedge 
is then carried forward, the upper end placed upon the second post, 
and the end with the grade pin on it swung about to determine the 
new position. After this series of posts or pins has been driven into 
the ground, the farmer can go over the line, straighten it out, or deter- 
mine upon the necessity of constructing elevated ditches and flumes. 


The ordinary flumes consist simply of open troughs or endless boxes 
(fig. 38) forming a portion of the ditch. They are built of boards or 
plank held in position and supported by timbers. Joints are usually 
made tight by pitch and oakum or by similar means. While in many 
cases flumes are indispensable and save the construction of long lines 
of earth ditches, they are usually a continual source of annoyance 
from leaking and require considerable attention to keep them in repair. 
The points where the flumes join the earth ditches are particularly 
difficult to maintain. It is necessary that the earth be very carefully 
tamped and that the flume be provided with wings in such a way as 
to make the union perfect. The section of the flume is usually rec- 
tangular, but it may be of a V shape, and occasionally, as in California, 
it is semicircular, this latter form requiring least lumber, but necessi- 
tating the use of iron bands or brackets. (Fig. 39.) 


The methods of applying water differ widely, being dependent upon 
the character of the climate, crops, and soil, and upon the experience 
of the irrigator. The principles underlying the practice have never 
been clearly stated, and with the present knowledge of plant physi- 
ology and of soil structure it appears impossible for them to be. The 
greatest advance of irrigation will probably be along the line of exact 
information as to the behavior of water in the soils and of the influ- 
ence of moisture upon plant growth and disease. This knowledge is 
needed, and although there is a large mass of statements of methods 
in vogue there has never been a comprehensive discussion of the 
matter such as leads to the presentation of simple and direct rules. 
It has been found, for example, that by applying water at one time and 
withholding it at others certain beneficial or injurious results have 
been obtained, but why these are so it is not possible to state clearly. 

Rules for applying water applicable within the arid region may not 
be suitable for the Great Plains region or for localities farther east. 
There is considerable difference in the amount of sunlight received 
and in the dryness of the air. For this reason it has been found that 
so-called practical irrigators from Colorado and Utah have not made 
as great a success on the plains as men who have learned the art 
from experience on the spot. These farmers must in many instances 
unlearn the maxims they have acquired and note more carefully cer- 
tain conditions which before they have neglected. 

One of the first questions the farmer asks, after he has determined 
to try irrigation and has settled upon a source of water supply, is how 
much water will be needed or how much land can be irrigated with a 
given amount. This question appears simple, but like many others 
of its kind it is capable of a great variety of answers. It is a good 
deal like asking what is the average size of a boy. So much depends 
upon the surrounding circumstances of soil, climate, character of 

Yearbook U. S- Dept. of Agriculture, 1896 

Plate IV. 

i ; ••>- 

Fig. 1.- Method of applying Water through Furrows. 

Fig. 2 -Flooding a Wheat Field. 


crop and means of applying water that most, if not all, of these must 
be known in advance. It is of course possible to take the statements 
of a great many farmers and, averaging them up, draw general con- 
clusions, but these can not be applied to any special case without the 
exercise of considerable judgment, and before doing so certain tech- 
nical terms or definitions of quantities must be clearly in mind. 
(PI. IV.) 


The phrase "duty of water" is a term which has been devised to 
convey the idea as to the relation between the quantity of water and 
the area which can be irrigated by it. The duty of water may be 
expressed in three ways: First, by the rate of flow of a stream for 
a certain number of days necessary for the irrigation of 1 acre; 
second, by the actual volume of water in gallons, cubic feet, or acre- 
feet which, if properly applied, will suffice for an acre; or, third, by 
the total depth of water put at various times upon the surface. This 
third expression is similar to the second, but takes no account of the 
extent of the field, as, for example, we may say that a certain piece of 
ground requires 21 inches, that is, during the irrigating season a depth 
of water of 21 inches has in the aggregate been applied to the surface, 
usually in a number of waterings at intervals of several weeks. One 
of these expressions may be converted into the other conveniently by 
simple computations based upon the relation of one unit to another. 
In speaking of inches in depth, these must not be confused with the 
miner's inch, which is simply a rate of flow independent of the quantity. 

The duty of water varies widely and can only be given in the most 
general terms. As before stated, it depends upon the climate, the 
amount of rainfall, the variations of temperature, the character of 
the soil and subsoil, the methods of cultivation, the kind of crops, 
and perhaps more than all upon the skill of the irrigator. Theoret- 
ically, it might be possible to ascertain just how much water a given 
plant requires under the ordinary range of temperature, and from this 
deduce the least quantity that can be used, but so many other matters 
must be considered that estimates of this kind have little more than 
a theoretical value. A certain quantity of water must be lost on the 
way from the stream or source of supply to the field, and again in the 
field before reaching the roots of the plant. 

Although the duty of water varies widely in actual practice and is 
such an uncertain quantity, yet it is convenient to make certain 
assumptions in order to estimate the possible extension of irrigation 
from the given source of supply. There is a theoretical limit as to 
the amount of water required by plants, and it is impossible to suc- 
cessfully produce crops with any smaller quantity, but this limit is 
so far removed from present practice that it does not seem probable 
it will ever be reached. Moreover, as different varieties of plants 
require different amounts of water, it may be possible to introduce 
12a96 13 


kinds which will require a minimum supply and thus enable a larger 
acreage to be cultivated by employing the given quantity of water. 

In the arid region, upon land irrigated for the first time and where 
water is to be had in abundance, a duty as low as 30 acres to the 
second-foot has been reported. This quantity of water flowing for, 
say, sixty days would cover an acre to the depth of about 4 feet. 
This may be regarded as one extreme. This amount, however, could 
not be used unless the surface drainage were perfect or the subsoil 
were largely composed of open gravels or sands, allowing water to 
escape freely, as it would quickly result in converting the country 
into a marsh. The excessive water would tend to carry away the 
rich qualities of the soil and wash it out until little of value remained. 
In some localities, where the earthy alkaline salts abound, this exces- 
sive irrigation or washing is resorted to in order to take away the inju- 
rious superabundance of soluble material. 

The ordinary duty of water, as measured in the ditches leading to 
the fields in Utah, Idaho, and parts of Colorado, ranges from 60 to 70 
acres to the second-foot. This quantity of water flowing for sixty days 
is equivalent to a depth of about If to 2 feet, and for ninety days to 
a depth of from 2£ to 3 feet. This is very nearly the minimum duty 
as fixed by the State law of Wyoming, which requires that no allot- 
ment of water shall exceed 1 cubic foot per second for each 70 acres. 

The highest duty of water is reached in California, where the quan- 
tities are usually given in miner's inches. The ordinary practice is 
2 acres to the miner's inch, or 100 acres to the .second-foot. From this 
as a minimum the quantity runs up to 4 or 5 acres to the miner's inch, 
and in some eases, as in the cultivation of orchards where water is 
very scarce and expensive, it is reported to be as high as from 8 to 15 
acres to the miner's ineh, or from 400 to 750 acres per seeond-foot. 
This quantity flowing for sixty days would cover the ground to a depth 
of from 3£ to 2 inches, or for ninety days to from 5$ to 3 inches. 
Where the soil is naturally retentive of moisture and has been once 
thoroughly saturated, it has been found possible by careful and con- 
tinuous cultivation to attain success with orchards, vines, and some 
of the field crops with but one slight watering, or even without any, 
for a number of years in succession. In such cases the water duty 
may be given as extremely high. But it is hardly proper to consider 
such cases in connection with ordinary irrigation. 

In the Great Plains region as a whole, where water is derived from 
underground sources or is held in storage reservoirs, it is necessary to 
reach a duty of water higher than that commonly found in case of 
water from large rjerennial streams, from the fact that the first cost is 
usually larger, the qtiantities to be handled are smaller, and the land 
irrigated is generally in the immediate vicinity of the source of sup- 
ply. For irrigation during the first year the duty can hardly be 
estimated, because the thirsty soil is almost insatiable in its demand 


for water, but after the ground has once been fairly well saturated 
an application of 20 inehes of water in depth for the second year 
should suffice, and after that less and less, depending upon the 
amount of ram and the humidity of the air. The question of quan- 
tity of water is so closely connected with that of cultivation that no 
estimate can have any great value beyond giving broad impressions. 

One of the most important points for the farmer to have in mind 
when planning Ms methods of irrigation is, in any event, to provide a 
sufficient supply of water. Oa the Great Plains, especially, and to a 
less extent throughout the arid region, there is a tendency to under- 
estimate the duty of water and where expenditures are concerned to 
try to make a small supply go too far. This is xiot the case with the 
older irrigation ditches built by farmers from streams of considerable 
size, for there water is lavishly used and often to the detriment of the 
crops ; but where pumping or storing water is concerned, or where 
the farmers purchase water rights, the tendency is to go to the other 
extreme and, relying upon theoretical considerations, try to culti- 
vate land with an entirely inadequate supply. Between these two 
extremes lies the intermediate ground of success. Too much water 
will reduce the amount and quality of the crop, while too little will 
result in waste of energy and in disappointment through utter failure. 
Great injury has already been wrought to the development of irriga- 
tion through the excessive sale of water rights in storage enterprises 
or canals, where farmers have purchased acreage rights to which an 
inadequate supply was allotted. The proper development of pump- 
ing has also been retarded by overestimates of the capacity of the 
pumps and underestimates of the amount of water required, so that 
in actual performance, where ordinary difficulties and accidents were 
encountered, the pumping plants have been serious disappointments 
if not actual losses. 

The methods of applying water can best be learned by the individual 
farmer through experience. They are not at all difficult, although in 
each locality certain details are to be observed, dependent upon the 
character of the climate, soil, and crops. The methods in common use 
throughout the West have been so often described and are so well 
given in an article by L. It. Taft in the Yearbook for 1895 that further 
discussion is hardly necessary. Emphasis should be given, however, 
to the fact that the first essential for an economic application of water 
is that of having the ground properly leveled or graded before culti- 
vation and irrigation are begun. When this has been thoroughly 
done, the irrigation can be carried on rapidly and efficiently with a 
small quantity of water and the supply can be evenly distributed, each 
portion of the field receiving its share. 


The whole object of irrigation is to supply a sufficient amount of 
water at the right time, so that the plants will reach their highest 


development or produce the finest fruit. This object will, however, 
be defeated unless irrigation is accompanied by proper cultivation. 
In fact, if one can be said to have more importance than the other, 
it is cultivation. This must be carried on usually to a far higher 
degree of perfection than in the case of nonirrigated crops, from the 
fact that in the practice of irrigation a considerable expenditure is 
involved, even at the best, and the largest returns should be realized 
in order to recompense this outlay. With ample water at hand, many 
of the conditions affecting crops are under control, and it should be 
possible by proper care to realize an ideal condition of yield and 

The farmer who imagines that by procuring suitable irrigating ma- 
chinery or devices and by pouring water upon the fields he is thereby 
doing all that is necessary to insure a profitable yield is almost cer- 
tain to be disappointed. This is only the beginning of his labors, for, 
except in the case of the forage crops or small grains, the application 
of water must be followed by thorough tilling, and this should be 
kept up until the soil is in a perfect condition of mulch. There are 
to be found all over the plains region farmers who have gone so far as 
to procure a windmill or other pumping machinery, and who have for 
a season let the water flow over their fields without care or judgment, 
drowning out parts of the crops, washing the soil in places, and allow- 
ing it to bake in others. These men, as may be expected, denounce 
irrigation as impossible or useless, not being willing to acknowledge 
that the fault lies in their own lack of attention to the soil after water 
has been applied. 

In trying irrigation for the first time the farmer should attempt it 
upon only a small area, from 3 to 5 acres, and put as much labor upon 
these as he has been accustomed to spend upon many times that num- 
ber in dry farming. If this is done intelligently, the larger yield will 
more than compensate for the added exertion. By giving careful 
attention to the needs of crop over a small area the farmer will soon 
learn to judge for himself as to when, with his conditions of soil and 
climate, plants actually require water. It is almost impossible in the 
present stage of our knowledge to give these definite directions, but 
it is practicable for the observant man to learn for himself while car- 
rying on the cultivation so essential to success. 

It should not be assumed from what has been stated that the bene- 
fits of irrigation are felt only in the more arid portions of the Great 
Plains. Such localities undoubtedly possess a certain advantage in 
that the sunlight is more intense, but this is a difference of a rela- 
tively small degree. On the eastern side of the Great Plains, and in 
fact over the adjacent prairie regions, irrigation can be and is being 
introduced with success. Viewed merely as a method of insurance 
against crop loss, the expense of procuring suitable methods of apply- 
ing water at the right time can not be regarded otherwise than as a 
businesslike investment. 


By F. B. L. Beal, 
Assistant Biologist, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


Of the various birds that enliven the groves and orchards, few are 
more conspicuous than the common blue jay {Cyanocitta cristata) 
(fig. 40) . Its loud and rather harsh voice, striking colors, and obtrusive 
actions attract attention when other birds equally abundant remain 
unnoticed. An accurate knowledge of its food habits is a matter of 
some importance from an economic point of view, since the bird is 
abundant and feeds largely upon grain and other hard seeds, although 
the proportion supplied by the farmer's crops has never been accu- 
rately determined. It has also been shown that the jay occasionally 

Fig. 40.— The common blue jay. 

preys upon the eggs or young of other birds, and some observers have 
declared it an habitual nest robber and thief, but the extent of its 
nest-robbing proclivities is unknown, and a detailed examination of 
its food is necessary in order to throw more light on these points. 

The blue jay is distributed over the whole of the United States east 
of the Great Plains, from the Gulf of Mexico to Manitoba and New- 
foundland. It remains constant in form and color throughout most 
of this region, except in Florida and along the Gulf coast, where a 
smaller race {Cyanocitta cristata florincola) occurs. "While jays com- 
monly resort to the forest to breed, they do not by any means confine 
themselves to the woods, but visit orchards, meadows, gardens, and 



farmyards in search of food. They remain throughout the year in most 
parts of their range, and their beautiful blue plumage is particularly 
conspicuous in the fall and winter months, when the trees are partly or 
wholly denuded of foliage. Their saucy, independent airs, sprightly 
manners, brilliant colors, and jaunty, plumed caps have gained them 
many friends, in spite of the fact that their food habits are supposed 
to be somewhat detrimental to the interests of the farmer. So com- 
pletely is this latter fact forgotten in the gloom and nakedness of 
winter that it is a common practice in many places, notably in New 
England, to place beds of chaff upon the snow into which corn is scat- 
tered each day in order to attract the jays. When the ground is well 
covered with its wintry fleece, they may be seen at all hours of the day 
eagerly pecking in the chaff for the welcome morsels, and their pres- 
ence in the garden and on the lawn relieves to some extent the winter 
dearth of bird life. 

The vocal powers of this bird, while by no means to be despised, are 
not as pleasing as is its plumage, and most of its notes can be consid- 
ered agreeable only by association. Jays are more or less garru- 
lous all the year, but are particularly noisy at harvest time when 
laying up a supply of food for winter. They also exhibit considera- 
ble powers of mimicry and imitate the notes of many other birds with 
considerable success. One which was kept in captivity by Mr. Syl- 
vester D. Judd learned to pronounce several English names distinctly, 
as well as to give a schoolboy's yell and to whistle for a dog. 

Blue jays have been charged with eating grain, devouring fruit, and 
destroying the eggs and young of other birds. It is also asserted that 
they devour numerous insects, and thus to some extent counterbal- 
ance the harm they do. Many eases of nest robbing might be cited, 
but it will be sufficient to give a few notes of field observers. 

Mr. Henry M. Berry, of Iowa City, Iowa, claims to have seen blue 
jays suck the contents of four eggs of the wood thrush while the old 
bird was only a few feet distant doing its best to drive them away. 

Mr. B. F. Goss, of Pewaukee, Wis., declares that they are the worst 
robbers of all, and that their destruction of the eggs and young of 
small birds is appalling. 

Mr. T. J. Bull, of Hot Springs, Ark. , writes : ' ' While standing on the 
observatory on Hot Springs Mountain, I saw beneath me a pair of red- 
birds chirping in great distress, and also noticed a blue jay fly away. 
Upon looking more closely, I discovered a nest with one young bird 
in it. * * * In about half an hour the jay returned to the nest, 
picked up the young bird, and flew away with it." 

In view of such explicit testimony from observers whose accuracy 
can not be impeached, special pains have been taken to ascertain how 
far the charges were sustained by a study of the bird's food. An ex- 
amination was made of 292 stomachs collected in every month of the 
year from 22 States, the District of Columbia, and Canada. 




One of the first points to attract attention in examining these stom- 
achs was the large quantity of mineral matter, averaging over 14 per 
cent of the total contents. The real food is composed of 24. 3 per cent 
of animal matter and 75.7 per cent of vegetable matter, or a trifle more 
than three times as much vegetable as animal (fig. 41). The animal 
food is chiefly made up of insectSj with a few spiders, myriapods, 
snails, and small vertebrates, such as fish, salamanders, tree frogs, 
mice, and birds. Everything was carefully examined which might 
by any possibility indicate that birds or eggs had been eaten, but 
remains of birds were found in only 2, and the shells of small birds' 
eggs in 3 of the 292 stomachs. One of these, taken on February 10, con- 
tained the bones, claws, and a little skin of a bird's foot. Another, 

j Vegetable food. 
\^yX4K^ Noxious insects. 

Usetfal insects. 
MiseeiimieOTis animal food. 

Fi-o. 41.— Diagram showing tfce relative amounts of vegetable and animal food eaten by the blue 
jay in each month of the year. The vegetable food is represented by the area above the line 
A B; the animal food by the space below. 

taken on June 24, contained remains of a young bird. The three 
stomachs with birds' eggs were collected in June, August, and October, 
respectively. The shell eaten in October belonged to the egg of some 
larger bird like the ruffed grouse, and considering the time of year, 
was undoubtedly merely an empty shell from an old nest. Shells of 
eggs which were identified as those of domesticated fowls, or some 
bird of equal size, were found in 11 stomachs, collected at irregular 
times during the year. This evidence would seem to show that more 
eggs of domesticated fowls than of wild birds are destroyed, but it is 
much more probable that these shells were obtained from refuse heaps 
•about farmhouses. 


To reconcile such contradictory evidence is certainly difficult, but it 
seems evident that these nest-robbing propensities are not as general 
as has been heretofore supposed. If this habit were as prevalent as 
some writers have asserted, and if it, were true that eggs and young 
of smaller birds constitute the chief food of the blue jay during the 
breeding season, the small birds of any section where jays are fairly 
abundant would be in danger of extermination. 

The ease with which a bird's actions may be misinterpreted is well 
illustrated by the case of a stomach which was received with the 
legend " Eating robins' eggs," but which, upon rigid examination, 
failed to reveal even a minute trace of an egg. It is of course possi- 
ble for a bird to eat an egg without swallowing any portion of the 
shell, in which case the soft contents would soon disappear from 
the stomach, but in view of the fact that such substances as dead 
leaves, bits of plant stems, and rotten wood, which are evidently 
swallowed accidentally with insects or other food, are constantly found 
in birds' stomachs, it does not seem probable that blue jays would 
discriminate against eggshells. To test this matter, four eggs of the 
English sparrow were offered to a jay in captivity. The bird at once 
seized the eggs and began to eat them, but Avhen any piece of the 
shell, no matter how minute, was accidentally dropped it was at once 
picked up and swallowed, and several such pieces that were thrown 
to the farther end of the cage were also eaten, so that the shells with 
their membranes were entirely gone before the soft contents. 

Besides birds, remains of small vertebrates were found in twelve 
stomachs, as follows : Fish and salamanders in one stomach each, tree 
frogs in four, mice in five, and a shrew in one. It is perhaps worthy 
of note that Dr. B. H. Warren failed to find a trace of any vertebrate 
remains in examining twenty-three stomachs of the blue jay, fourteen 
of which were collected in May, one in June, three in September, and 
five in October. (Birds of Pennsylvania, pp. 200-201.) 

The jay kept in captivity by Mr. Judd showed a marked fond- 
ness for mice, and would devour them apparently with great relish. 
Another bird ate only a portion of dead mice and refused to touch 
live mice, preferring insects when it had an opportunity for choice. 


Insects are eaten by blue jays in every month in the year, but nat- 
urally only in small quantities during the winter. The great bulk of 
the insect food consists of beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars, with 
a few bugs, wasps, and flies, and an occasional spider and myriapod. 
The average for the whole year is nearly 23 per cent, varying from less 
than 1 per cent in January to over 66 per cent in August, and gradu- 
ally diminishing to 3.2 per cent in December. There is a remarkable 
increase in the quantities eaten in spring and summer, the percent- 
age increasing from 28 in May to 44 in June, and from 46 in July to 


66.3 in August. The molting season may account for the increase 
in August, but that in June is not so easily explained. The beetles 
found in the stomachs may be roughly divided into three groups: 
Predaceous beetles (Carabids); those belonging to the May beetle 
family (Scarabseids) ; and miscellaneous beetles, including about half 
a dozen families. Each of these groups forms a little more than 3-£ per 
cent of the food. The greatest number of predaceous beetles were 
eaten in July, when they aggregated 10.25 per cent of the food of the 
month. The Carabids belong for the most part to genera with blunt 
jaws, such as Harpalus, Cratacanthus, and Stenolophusj only a few 
specimens with sharp jaws like Pasimachus, Cfdlerita, and Calosoma 
were found, and it is probable that no great harm is done by the 
destruction of these beetles, as they are not entirely carnivorous and 
are therefore less useful, and the individuals are abundant. 

Scarabseids reach their maximum abundance in the jay's food in 
August (11.8 per cent), although nearly as many (11 per cent) were 
eaten in June. They were mostly represented by the larger species, 
such as the goldsmith beetle (Cotalpa lanigera), the spotted grapevine 
beetle (Pelidnota punctata), the brilbant tumblebug (Phanceus carni- 
fex), with many May beetles (Lachnostema), and quite a large number 
of fruit-eating beetles (Euphoria inda and E. fulgida). At least 
five specimens of Euphoria inda were found in one stomach, amount- 
ing to 75 per cent of the whole food contents. It is worthy of notice 
that one stomach contained a nearly perfect specimen of the grape- 
vine beetle and also the seeds and skins of the wild grape ( Vitis cor- 
difolta), and it seems probable that the bird visited the vine to feed 
upon the grapes, but finding the beetle swallowed that also. Beetles 
belonging to other families aggregate 16.3 per cent in June, the most 
important being a few leaf -eating beetles (Chrysomelidse), some click 
beetles (Elateridse), and a number of curculios (Curculionidae). A 
dozen curculios, belonging to the genus Balaninus, were found in a 
single stomach, and three in another. As these beetles live on acorns 
and other nuts, it seems probable that the birds devoured them when 
looking for their favorite food, mast. 

Grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts form about 4.4 per cent of the 
food; but they do not become an important element until July. They 
attain their maximum of 19.5 per cent in August, and continue in 
considerable numbers until December. If June can be called the 
beetle month in the dietary of the jay, August is the grasshopper 
month; and birds that eat these insects at all eat the greatest quan- 
tity at this time. Many birds that bve during the rest of the year on 
food obtained from trees or shrubs come to the ground and feed upon 
grasshoppers in August. Caterpillars form an important element 
only in March, August, and September, and the greatest number, 
amounting to 11.4 per cent, were eaten in August. The kind of 
caterpillars eaten is of more interest than the number. The jay 


apparently likes to take its food in large morsels, and as in the case of 
beetles, large larvae, like those of the humming-bird moths (Sphingi- 
dse), are selected whenever obtainable. In several cases a single spec- 
imen of these caterpillars more than 2 inches in length and nearly 
as large as one's finger was snugly coiled up in the stomach, almost 
filling the whole cavity. Eggs of insects were frequent, and those of 
the tent caterpillar moth (Clisiocampa americana) occurred in four 
cases. Dr. J. A. Allen has found these eggs in blue jay stomachs 
(Auk, XII, Oct., 1895, p. 383), and many years ago Dr. J. P. Kirtland 
called attention to the usefulness of this bird in destroying the larvae 
of the tent caterpillar (Atlantic Monthly, XXV, Apr., 1870, p. 482). 
Many of the smaller species of caterpillars were quite hairy, and 
others rough and warty, showing that this does not render them 
objectionable. Mr. E. II. Forbush credits the blue jay with eating 
great numbers of eggs, pupae, and larvae of the gypsy moth, and he 
observed them carrying away the larvae, which are hairy caterpillars 
of considerable size, apparently to feed their young. (Rept. on Gypsy 
Moth, Mass. Board Agr., 1896, pp. 214, 215.) 

Insects of several other orders were found in nearly every month, 
and in July and August amounted to a little more than 11 per cent. 
Hymenoptera were represented by wasps and a few ants. One stom- 
ach contained a specimen of the pigeon horntail (Tremex columba), a 
very injurious wood-boring insect. Diptera, or flies, were found in 
only three stomachs. Hemiptera were represented by quite a num- 
ber of stink bugs (Pentatomids), a few cicadas, and remains of coccids, 
or bark lice, which were found in two stomachs. Spiders occur fre- 
quently, myriapods occasionally, and snail shells were found in 
thirty-eight stomachs. 


As already stated, three-fourths of the blue jay's food consists of 
vegetable matter, which may be conveniently arranged in several 
groups: (1) Grain, mast, and seeds; (2) fruit; and, (3) miscellaneous. 


Grain and mast. — Corn, wheat, oats, buckwheat, acorns, chestnuts, 
beechnuts, hazelnuts, sumac {Rhus), knotweed {Polygonum), sorrel 

Fruit and miscellaneous. — Apples, strawberries, currants {Ribes 
rubrum), blackberries {Rubus), mulberries (Morus), blueberries ( Vac- 
cinium), huckleberries (Gaylussacia), wild cherries (Prunus serotina), 
chokecherries (Prunus virginiana) , wild grapes ( Vitis cordifolia), serv- 
ice berries (Amelanchier canadensis), elderberries (Sambucus cana- 
densis), sour-gum berries (Nyssa aquatica), hawthorn (Cratcegus), 
chokeberries (Aronia arbutifolia), pokeberries (Phytolacca decandra), 
oak galls, mushrooms, tubers. 



Grain is naturally one of the most important groups, and may be 
considered first. Wheat, oats, and buckwheat occur so seldom and 
in such small quantities (1.3 per cent of the whole food) that they 
may be dismissed with slight comment. Wheat was found in only 
eight stomachs, oats in two, and buckwheat in one. The wheat was 
eaten in July, August, and September; oats in March and July, and 
buckwheat in October. Corn was found in seventy-one stomachs, 
and aggregates 17.9 per cent of the food of the year. This is less than 
that eaten by the crow (21 per cent) or by the crow blackbird (35 per 
cent). In January the amount consumed reached nearly 56 per cent. 
It is perhaps fair to add, however, that about one-third of the stom- 
achs taken in that month were from birds shot at a eorncrib when the 
ground was covered with 3 feet of snow, and do not fairly represent 
the food of the month. Corn was also found in considerable quan- 
tities in February, April, May, and September. 
















I y 











J % 





/ \ 

f • 




T?I<3. 42— Diagram showing the relative amounts of grain and mast eaten "by the blue jay in each 

month of the year. 

Under the term "mast " are grouped large seeds of trees and shrubs, 
such as acorns, chestnuts, beechnuts, and others less conspicuous to 
the ordinary observer. Unlike corn, it formed a remarkably constant 
element, and aggregated more than 42 per cent of the whole food of the 
year. It was found in 168 stomachs, and varied from one-fourth to 
three-fourths of the total food in every month except July and August. 
The fact that it is eaten, not only in the late fall, winter, and early 
spring, when other food may be hard to obtain, but also throughout 
late spring, summer, and early fall, when fruit, grain, and insects are 
abundant, would seem to show that it is preferred. The consumption 
of mast exceeds that of corn in every month except January, April, 
July, and August; but only a small amount of either is eaten in these 
last two months. The test as to whether corn is preferred to mast 


would seem to be furnished by the record in October and November. 
It must be admitted that throughout most parts of the blue jay's range 
both corn and mast are equally accessible during these two months. 
The cornfields are ripe for the harvest, and lie open and unprotected, 
where the birds can gather their fill without let or hindrance. The 
forests also furnish an incalculable quantity of acorns, chestnuts, chin- 
quapins, and beechnuts, while the hedges and river banks teem with 
hazelnuts, and there seems no reason why the jays should not eat the 
food that they like. An examination of the stomachs will indicate 
best what they have actually eaten (fig. 42). Seventy-two stomachs 
taken in October show an average of over 64 per cent of mast, and 
eleven collected in November nearly 82 per cent, while the corn in each 
month aggregates only 1.1 and 0.9 per cent, respectively. It seems 
scarcely possible to draw any other conclusion than that the blue jays 
prefer mast to corn, or indeed to any other vegetable food, for they eat 
the greatest amount at a time when fruit, grain, and other things are 
most abundant. The record for December shows that the taste for 
mast, far from being satisfied, has rather increased, and attains its 
maximum of almost 83 per cent ; while only 10 per cent of corn has 
been taken instead of several other seeds and fruits which were eaten 
earlier in the season. It was the custom of the writer, at his home in 
Massachusetts, to bait the blue jays in winter with chaff and corn in the 
manner already mentioned, and he observed that the birds patronized 
these feeding places only so long as the ground was completely covered 
with snow. No sooner did any considerable area of bare surface ap- 
pear than the corn was discarded and no more birds were seen on the 
chaff until the earth was again covered with snow. The natural infer- 
ence was that the jays found something on the bare ground, presumably 
mast, which they preferred to corn. It is possible that this fondness 
for mast may affect the distribution of certain trees to some extent. 
A jay flying with a nut in its beak may drop it in mid-air or carry it 
away and perhaps store it for future use. Acorns and other nuts may 
be distributed in this way, and it is probable that many isolated oaks 
and chestnuts owe their origin to accidents of this kind. 

Jays show considerable taste in the choice of fruit. Apples were 
eaten only during January, February, and March, and consequently 
were merely frozen fruit left on the trees to decay, which should per- 
haps be reckoned as refuse rather than food. In the month of March 
the consumption is greatest, amounting to more than 32 per cent. 
Fresh fruit is eaten to a slight extent in May, but the quantity 
increases rapidly in June, and attains more than 39 per cent in July, 
and then gradually diminishes until it disappears entirely after 
October. The jay is often included with other birds in the charge of 
habitual stealing of cultivated fruit. Discarding apples which have 
no value, only four kinds of fruit are eaten which may be cultivated, 
namely, strawberries, currants, blackberries, and mulberries. No 


cultivated cherries or grapes were found. Strawberries were found in 
three stomachs, currants in seven, blackberries in twenty-two, and 
mulberries in five. This certainly does not show great depredations 
upon fruit, even supposing that all the fruit was cultivated; but it is 
probable, especially in the case of blackberries, that much of it was 

Other vegetable substances were not eaten extensively, but appear 
to b ave been taken merely in default of something better. It is worthy 
of notice that the sumac seeds eaten are those of the harmless staghorn 
{Rhus hirta) and smooth sumac (Rhus glabra). Jays do not eat the 
seeds of poison ivy (Rhus radieans) or poison sumac (Rhus vernix), and 
in this respect differ greatly from the crow, the crow blackbird, and 
some of the woodpeckers. These last, and probably many other birds, 
feed largely upon sumac seeds during the winter, and thereby help to 
disseminate these disagreeable and harmful shrubs. It seems a 
little singular that a bird so fond of hard seeds as the jay should not 
avail itself of this food, which is always accessible in the colder 
months, but it is fortunate that it does not eat the seeds of the poison- 
ous species. Remains of galls which grow on oak leaves were found 
in twelve stomachs, and possibly were eaten for the sake of the larvsB 
which they contained. Fragments of mushrooms were identified in 
seven stomachs, mostly taken in April and October. 


The examination of stomach contents was supplemented by experi- 
ments on a bird which had been in captivity but a few months and 
had no acquired tastes. In eating, this jay held its food on the perch 
usually with the right foot, but sometimes with both feet, and pro- 
ceeded to tear it to pieces and devour it; hard substances, like kernels 
of corn and acorns, were repeatedly hammered with the beak after the 
manner of a woodpecker. It would eat dead mice to a certain extent, 
but did not appear to be extravagantly fond of them; it seldom or 
never ate a whole one, and seemed to prefer the brains to any other 
part. A live mouse was placed in the cage, but remained unmolested 
for two days. The jay was kept supplied with mocking-bird food, of 
which it ate freely, so that it was not hungry, and therefore selected 
only such other food as was appetizing. It ate most insects and pre- 
ferred them to vegetable food. Its preferences were not strongly 
marked, although grasshoppers seemed to be the favorite insects, and 
black crickets were refused. Among beetles, Scarabseids were rather 
preferred to Carabids or Tenebrionids, but all were eaten . Ohrysome- 
lids were generally rejected, and the potato beetle (Doryphora 10- 
Uneata) was always refused; the same was true of the elm leaf -beetle 
(Galerucella, luteola), but one 12-spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica 
18-punctata) was eaten. Click beetles (Elaterids and Tenebrionids) 
were apparently preferred. to the long-horn beetles (Cerambycids). 


On on© occasion a basin of water was placed in the cage contain- 
ing several Carabids (Harpalus caliginosus and H. pennsylvanicus), 
one Cerambycid (Typocerus sinuatus), one potato beetle (Doryphora 
10-lineata), another Chrysomelid (Chrysochrus auratus), one black 
cricket, one large hairy caterpillar, and a large milleped (Jtdus). 
The milleped was taken first, the Carabids next, and finally all the 
insects were eaten except the Chxysomelids and the cricket. 
■ '* Very large hard beetles, like Alaus oculatus, HydropMlus triangu- 
laris, and Passalus cornutus, were not often touched, but in default of 
other insects were torn to pieces and the soft parts separated from the 
harder portions. ' Stink bugs (Pentatomids) seemed to be relished, but 
hairy caterpillars were only taken after most of the hair had been 
beaten off. Cocoons of a tussock moth were torn open to get the 
pupae, and the large green warty caterpillars of the Ailanthus moth 
were eaten, but with no great relish. In several cases spiders were 
selected in preference to insects. Myriapods and earthworms were 
eaten less readily than sow bugs (Oniseus). 

The bird would eat corn and sprouted acorns, but did not seem to 
care much for them. It ate apples, blackberries, and black raspber- 
ries, bat rejected red raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, and elder- 
berries; it swallowed the pulp of grapes only after removing the skin 
and seeds, and also ate a little peach pulp, but without great relish. 


The most striking point in the study of the food of the blue jay is 
the discrepancy between the testimony of field observers concerning 
the bird's nest-robbing proclivities and the results of stomach exami- 
nations. The accusations of eating eggs and young birds are certainly 
not sustained, and it is futile to attempt to reconcile the conflicting 
statements on this point, which must be left until more accurate obser- 
vations have been made. In destroying insects the jay undoubtedly 
does much good. Most of the predaceous beetles which it eats do not 
feed on other insects to any great extent. On the other hand, it de- 
stroys some grasshoppers and caterpillars and many noxious beetles, 
such as Scarabseids, click beetles (Elaterids), weevils (Curculionids), 
Buprestids, Chrysomelids, and Tenebrionids. The blue jay gathers 
its fruit from nature's orchard and vineyard, not from man's; corn 
is the only vegetable food for which the farmer suffers any loss, and 
here the damage is small. In fact, the examination of nearly 300 
stomachs shows that the blue jay certainly does far more good than 


By A. J. PlBTEES, 

Assistant Botanist, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

Man has so changed the form, habits, and properties of cultivated 
.plants that in many instances their wild progenitors are unknown. 
But he has gone farther than this. By careful .cultivation and selec- 
tion he has so altered the nature of many cultivated plants that they 
exist no longer primarily for the perpetuation of the species, but for 
the good of man. The abnormally developed flowers, the succulent 
roots, the seedless fruits of our fields, gardens, and orchards, would 
not only be useless to a wild plant, but would be a positive hindrance 
-to it in the struggle for existence. .HI the energies of the wild plant 
are bent to the production of seed. Annuals and biennials vegetate 
one or two seasons, produce seed, and die, while the longer-lived 
woody plants grow to maturity and year after year produce enormous 
numbers of seeds in order that a few may grow and perpetuate the 

But the value of the seed lies not solely in the reproduction of its 
kind. There are many species, especially among cultivated plants, 
that are produced year after year without the agency of seed. A great 
part of the value of the seed lies in the fact that it is the product of a 
sexual union. Darwin .and others have shown that the union of dif- 
ferent individuals is advantageous to the species, and this union can 
occur only through the agency of the flower, and the effects of it can be 
propagated only by the seed. The union of different plants produces 
a progeny with greater tendency to variation than is possessed by 
the product of inbreeding. Among wild plants these variations ena- 
ble a species to adapt itself to new conditions, thus extending its 
range and increasing its chances of living; in cultivated plants they 
form the basis upon which the plant breeder works for the improve- 
ment of old and the development of new varieties. 

Moreover, nearly all our field and garden crops are propagated by 
seed, and the production of good seed is as essential to continued suc- 
cess in agriculture as good soil or careful cultivation. The production 
of seed therefore becomes at once a matter of the first importance as 
well to the originator of new varieties as to him who aims to keep 

some standard variety true and of the best quality. 



That the steps in the production of seed may be clearly understood, 
a brief description will be given of the parts of a flower and the 
growth of the seed both before and after fertilization. All seeds are 
produced by flowers. The flower usually contains two sets of organs, 
the sexual and the enveloping. Sometimes the latter are partially or 
wholly wanting, but the sexual organs — that is, the stamens and pis- 
tils — must be present either in the same or in different flowers in order 
that the plant may be fruitful. 

The envelopes usually consist of two whorls of floral leaves, the outer 
or calyx (fig. 43, a), commonly green and more leafy than the inner 
whorl or corolla (fig. 43, b), which is often highly colored and of delicate 
texture. One or both of these whorls are found in nearly all flowers, 
and serve the double purpose of protecting the stamens and pistils 
while in the bud and, after opening, of attracting insects by their 
bright colors. 

Frequently there is only one whorl, which is always the calyx; or 
both whorls may be absent, in which case the flower is said to be 
naked. The floral leaves forming the calyx are called sepals; those 
of the corolla are petals. The pistil or pistils, the female organs, 
occupy the center of the flower (fig. 43, cj fig. 44, c). They are com- 
monly less numerous than the stamens, although this is often due to 
the union of several pistils into one, forming a compound pistil. 

The pistil consists of the ovary at the base, the style, and the stigma at 
the end of the style (fig. 44, e,f, g). The stigma is the receptive surface 
on which the pollen falls, and is connected with the ovary by the style. 
In some flowers the style is suppressed or very short, while in others, 
as Indian corn, it is long and silky. The stamens, or male organs, are 
located between the pistil and the envelopes (fig. 43, d; fig. 44, d). 
They vary in number, but are commonly as numerous or twice as 
numerous as the sepals or petals. By suppression or multiplication 
these limits are frequently exceeded, and different species possess from 
one to an indefinite number of stamens. A stamen consists of a stalk, 
or filament, and an anther. The anther, which is commonly two-lobed, 
produces the pollen, the fertilizing element. The mass of pollen, as 
seen in an anther, consists of a countless number of pollen grains. 
These may be dry and dust-like, each grain being distinct from every 
other, or the grains may be sticky and adhere to each other in small, 
irregular, or sometimes regular, masses. When ripe, the anther opens 
and the pollen is exposed, to be carried away either by the wind or by 
insects and other animals. 

In the majority of plants both sexes are present in the same flower. 
In a small number they are in different flowers, either on the same 
plant or on different plants. In the latter case the plants bearing 
only male flowers never produce fruit. For the production of 6eeds 




Fig. 43.— Tomato flower 
. (Lycopersicum esculen- 
tum): a, calyx; 6, corolla; 
c, pistil; d, stamens. The 
anthers are united about 
the pistil. (See fig. 44.) 

a union of both sexes is necessary. This takes place when the pollen 
grains are deposited on the stigma of the pistil, and grow out into tubes 
which traverse the style and fertilize the ovules in the ovary (fig. 45). 
The ovule, the future seed, begins as an outgrowth within a cell of 
the ovary. As it grows, one or two coats are developed about it. The 
coats do not entirely surround the ovule, but leave a narrow opening, the 
foramen or micropyle, at one end. Through this opening the pollen 
tube finds its way to the embryo-sac of the ovule, a 
After the union of one of the nuclei of the em- 
bryo-sac with that of the pollen tube the embryo 
begins to form. This is the future plantlet, and 
is the indispensable portion of every good seed. 
After fertilization the ovary rapidly develops 
into the fruit (fig. 46). Often the calyx or some 
other part of the flower adjacent to the ovary 
becomes united to the latter and forms a portion 
of the fruit. In the seed the important changes 
are the growth of the embryo and of the endo- 
sperm, when present. The endosperm contains the food supply for 
the young plant. It is either absorbed by the growing embryo before 
the seed is ripe or remains as a distinct mass of reserve material out- 
side of the embryo. In the latter case the seed is called albuminous; 
in the former, exalbuminous. In either case there is a supply of 
reserve material, consisting usually of starch, oil, or proteid, for the use 

of the embryo after germination. In 
exalbuminous seeds the reserve ma- 
terials are stored in the cotyledons of 
the embryo, which often become very 
large and fill the seed, as in beans and 
peas (fig. 47). In albuminous seeds 
the embryo never entirely fills the 
seed, and it may be very small. 
Sometimes it is without differentia- 
tion of parts. In corn and wheat it 
lies outside of the albumen, which 
forms the bulk of the seed. The em- 
bryo and albumen are surrounded 
by a seed coat, which protects the delicate parts within, and in some 
seeds serves a useful purpose in germination (fig. 47, a). 

Three parts are readily distinguished in most embryos, viz, radicle, 
cotyledons, and plumule (fig. 47, &, c, d). The radicle becomes the 
primary root; the cotyledons or seed leaves either contain the reserve 
materials of the seed within themselves or they absorb the albumen 
after germination; the plumule becomes the stem of the plant. 


The matter of fertilization underlies the whole subject of seed pro- 
duction, for on the fertilization of the seed depends the purity as 

12 a96- 14 

Fig. 44.— Tomato flower, longitudinal sec- 
tion: a, sepal; 6, petal; c, pistil; d, sta- 
mens; e, stigma; /, style: g, ovary. 



Fig. 45.— Section of a portion of 
the stigma of cucumber {Cucu- 
mis sativus) .showing a germinat- 
ing pollen grain: a, pollen grain 
and tube; 6, portion of pollen 
tube cut off in the tissue of the 

well as the vigor of a variety. A flower is cross fertilized when its 
ovules are impregnated by the pollen of another flower; self -fertilized 
when they are impregnated by pollen from its own stamens. 

The adaptations for cross fertilization are too numerous to be de- 
scribed in detail. Two great external agencies are concerned in the 

work, the wind and insects. The colors, 
odors, and irregular shapes of flowers and 
the secretion of honey are correlated with 
cross fertilization by insects. Insects visit 
flowers for the sweets they 
find, and are undoubtedly 
attracted by color and odor. 
While collecting the honey, 
insects are dusted with pol- 
len, which, passing to other 
flowers, they deposit on their 
stigmas. Many flowers are 
so arranged that only bees 
and insects large enough to 
pollinate the flower can obtain the honey. This end is 
secured by the irregularity of the flower and in various 
other ways. Either the lips of the flower are so firmly 
closed that only a large insect can force them apart, or 
the throat is filled with hairs which effectually exclude 
unwelcome guests, or the honey is at the bottom of a 
long tube to which only the proboscis of a large moth 
or bee can reach. 
The arrangements by which cross pollination is se- 
cured are principally of three 
kinds : (1) There may be some 
peculiarity in the structure of 
the flower that favors cross pol- 
lination and almost or quite pre- 
vents self pollination ; (2) the 
sexes may be in different flow- 
ers ; (3) the anthers and pistils 
of the same flower may mature 
at different times. 

The peculiarities of structure are numerous 
and varied. A common type is found in the 
flower of the pea family; for instance, in that 
of red clover ( Trifolium pratense) . The flow- 
ers are visited by the bumblebee, whose long 
proboscis can reach down into the tube, at the bottom of which the 
honey is secreted (fig. 48). Smaller bees can not secure the honey, 
but they collect pollen and doubtless aid in fertilization while so 

Fig. 47.— Seed of the bean 
{Phascolus vulgaris). A 
dicotyledonous seed; one 
cotyledon removed to show 
the plumule: a, seed coat; 
b, cotyledon; c, plumule; d, 
radicle; e, scar left by the 
removal of the other coty- 

Fig. 46.— Pod of 
the common 
bean (Phaseo- 
lus vulgaris). 
This is the rip- 
ened pistil. 
The figure 
shows the 
seeds in posi- 
tion in the 



Fig. 48.— Bumblebee pollinating red 
clover. The bee is withdrawing its 
head Irom the flower where it has 
received the pollen at c: a, stamens 
and pistil of the flower; b, proboscis 
of the bee. 

doing. The stigma stands out above the anthers, and a bee, thrusting 
his head into a flower, would first brush against the stigma, leaving 
some pollen from a flower previously 
visited, and then dust itself afresh with 
pollen, to be carried in turn to the next 
flower (fig. 48). Some farm operations 
depend upon these insect visits. Where 
mammoth clover is grown for seed, it is 
pastured or clipped in the early part of 
the season. This is done that the plants 
may not bloom before " bee time," for if 
they did there would be no seed. Bum- 
blebees had to be imported into Australia 
before red-clover seed could be raised 
there. It is said that when insects are 
excluded not one-tenth of the flowers are 

In the cabbage family arrangements 
are such that self-fertilization can take place if cross fertilization fails. 
In cabbage (Brassica oleracea) the honey is secreted at the bottom of 

the corolla tube. An insect sucking 
the honey would touch the stigma 
and the anther of one of the short 
stamens. At the next ffower the pol- 
len thus collected would most likely 
be deposited on the stigma. In case 
cross fertilization fails, the long sta- 
mens bend over and pollinate the 
stigma. That cross fertilization fre- 
quently occurs is proved, however, by the 
difficulty of keeping the varieties of cab- 
bage, turnips, or other cruciferous vegeta- 
bles from mixing. 

The case in which cross fertilization is 
insured by having the sexes in different flow- 
ers is represented among our garden veg- 
etables by the cucurbits. In pumpkins, 
squashes, cucumbers, and melons the male 
flowers appear first, followed by the female 
(figs. 49 and 50). Here cross fertilization is 
inevitable, and mixing invariably occurs 
when several varieties of a species are 
grown near one another. 

The wind-fertilized flowers are repre- 
sented among our common economic plants by the grasses and Indian 
corn. In these the flowers are simple, without odor, nectar, or con- 
spicuous color, thus presenting no attraction to insects. The anthers 

Fig. 49. — Male flower of cucumber {Cucumis 
sativus). One petal cut away toshow the 
stamens: a, sepals; 6, petals; c, stamens. 

Fig. 50. —Female flower of cucum- 
ber {Cucumis sativus). Onepetal 
cut away toshow the stigma: a, 
sepal; 6, petal; c, pistil; d, stig- 
ma; e, style; /, ovary. 


are borne on long, delicate filaments, which enable them to shake out 
their light and dry pollen with every breath of wind. Everyone has 
noticed how the pollen falls in showers from the tassels of Indian corn 

Flowers in which the anthers mature before the pistil are common 
among our ornamental plants, the gentians, campanulas, and Clero- 
dendron being conspicuous examples. In the plantains, which are 
among our greatest weed pests, the pistils mature before the anthers. 
In these the order of blossoming is from the base of the spike up, and 
in young spikes the stages of flowering can be traced on one spike ; the 
younger flowers at the apex showing only pistils, the middle flowers 
old pistils and young anthers, the lower ones withered pistils and ripe 

Cross fertilization may take place between flowers on the same plant 
or between flowers on different plants. In the latter case two distinct 
individuals enter into the union. They bring to this union those dif- 
ferences of constitution and habit which always exist between indi- 
viduals, emphasized, perhaps, by differences in the conditions under 
which their ancestors have lived for one or more generations. In self- 
fertilization, on the other hand, there is the closest possible inbreeding. 
The conditions under which the sexual organs have matured are the 
same; they will therefore differ but little in their constitution. It 
would seem reasonable that seed produced by crossing different plants 
should give rise to progeny more vigorous and productive than that 
resulting from self-fertilization. 

Darwin x proved by a long series of experiments that cross fertiliza- 
tion is beneficial, and that continued self-fertilization is injurious to 
the species. He crystallized his conclusions in the famous dictum, 
"Nature abhors perpetual self-fertilization." 

In the course of his experiments, Darwin used many species from 
widely different orders, and in most cases several experiments were 
conducted with the same species. Many of the plants were grown for 
more than one generation from seeds produced by hand-pollinated 
flowers ; in one case, that of the morning-glory {IpomcRa purpurea), for 
ten generations. Darwin found that, as a rule, the plants raised from 
seeds produced by cross fertilization exceeded in height, weight, and 
fertility those raised from seeds produced by self-fertilization. The 
same results were obtained by Bailey 2 in growing eggplants on a large 
scale. The cross-bred plants "were characterized throughout the 
season by great sturdiness and vigor of growth. They grew more 
erect and taller than other plants near by grown from commercial 
seed. They were the finest plants I had ever seen." The following 
summer 2, 500 plants were grown from seed taken from this patch, and of 
these he says : ' 'Again the plants were remarkably robust and healthy, 
with fine foliage, and they grew erect and tall — an indication of vigor." 

1 The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom. 

2 L. H. Bailey, Plant Breeding. 


The degree of relationship of the plants used in the cross has much 
to do with the benefit derived. Crosses between plants grown for 
generations under the same conditions tend to approximate the results 
of self-fertilization. But the introduction of fresh stock — that is, of 
plants grown under other conditions of soil, moisture, climate, or care — 
puts new vigor into the cross. In Darwin's experiments plants of 
morning-glory that had been intercrossed for nine generations were 
crossed with fresh stock and compared with plants intercrossed for 
ten generations. They exceeded the latter in height as 100 exceeds 78. 
Cabbages were compared by weight, and the plant3 resulting from a 
cross with fresh stock- upon the second intercrossed generation were 
to the third intercrossed generation as 100 to 22. More examples 
might be given, but these are enough to show the immense advantage 
of introducing fresh stock. 

As has already been said, the purity as well as the vigor of a variety 
depends upon the fertilization of the seed. While cross fertilization 
has been clearly shown to be productive of more vigorous plants and 
therefore a benefit so far as the life of the species is concerned, there 
are other matters of vital importance to the farmer. The first of 
these is the purity of the variety. The seed must be genuine, that is, 
it must reproduce the variety from which it purports to come. No 
matter how well the seed germinates nor how vigorous the plants, if 
they are not of the variety wanted the crop is at best a partial failure. 
While crossing between plants of the same variety is beneficial, the 
more so if their ancestors were not grown under the same conditions, 
crossing between varieties of a species should, as a rule, be guarded 
against. Intelligent crossing of varieties, or of species even, may lead 
to good results, but indiscriminate crossing can only result in the loss 
of well-established types. 

The varieties of most of our common garden plants cross readily. 
The great pea and bean growers are careful not to grow two varieties 
of either near each other. Some insist upon but one variety being 
grown on the same farm, while others pe'rmit more than one on a farm, 
but specify the distance they shall stand apart, from 10 to 40 rods 
being usually required. 

In the cabbage family, to which many of our vegetables belong, 
cross fertilization is not uncommon. The varieties of cabbage, kale, 
cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and kohl-rabi all belong to one species 
(Brassica ohracea) and cross freely. To raise any variety for seed, 
it must be grown in large patches, away from any variety with which 
it will cross. Where only a few plants produce seed, there is every 
chance that bees may bring pollen of another variety and the plants 
raised from that seed not be true to name. The varieties of corn 
cross readily and can not be grown near each other without danger of 
mixing. This may occur even when the varieties are considerable 
distances apart. We learn from a seedsman of high standing that in 


his experience corn in one field has become mixed with that in another 
6 miles distant. In his opinion crows that fed on both fields carried 
the pollen. Frequently the effects of the cross are visible the same 
season in colored grains. When this occurs, the mixing is easily 
detected and the corn can be discarded, but often there is no such 
indication, and a mongrel variety the following summer is the first 
indication the farmer has that his seed corn was not genuine. 

Pumpkins, squashes, melons, and cucumbers are fertilized by in- 
sects, and when different varieties of the same species are grown 
near each other pure seed is out of the question. Even when the vari- 
eties are grown some distance apart there is still danger of mixing. 
A seedsman states that he has known watermelons to cross when grown 
a mile apart. Bees carry pollen long distances, and in flying from one 
field to another are likely to leave foreign pollen oh the stigmas of the 
flowers they visit. Experience has shown that tomatoes will cross in 
the field. Six varieties were grown on the Cornell Experimental 
Grounds, 1 and from the seed saved eighty-seven plants were grown, 
six of which were evidently crosses. It is evident, then, that garden 
seeds grown on a small scale are extremely likely to mix when two or 
more varieties of the same plant are grown together. 


In former years home seed saving was extensively practiced. 
Nearly all market gardeners and those who supplied their own tables 
saved the seed of their best plants. The seed business was then 
but little developed, and dealers Avere not so well prepared to supply 
the demands of an exacting public. But even as early as 1796 
Marshall, in his book on gardening, advised against saving seed at 
home and urged that those whose business it was to grow seed could 
do so more cheaply than it could be done at home. Other writers on 
horticultural matters took different views, some even advising the 
gardener to save seed of all the varieties he raised. 

The objections to growing one's own seed are in general that it 
can not be as well done, or, if as well, not as cheaply, by the general 
farmer or gardener as by the professional seedsman. These objections 
have greater force to-day than they had in the time of Marshall. 
Reliable dealers and growers have accumulated such a wealth of 
experience and exercise such care that although nongenuine seed may 
sometimes be sold by an honest firm it is done through ignorance 
rather than intent, and is an exceptional occurrence. 

Home seed saving is most likely to be profitable upon the farm 
where plenty of land is available. When space is limited, it is too 
valuable to be used for home seed raising unless the grower has some 
choice strain which he fears can not be obtained pure from seedsmen. 
Where land is plenty and the additional labor is the only outlay, home 

1 Bulletin No. 32, Cornell University Station. 


seed saving may be successfully practiced. With proper care most 
garden and flower seeds can be saved, as well as field seeds and pota- 
toes. The danger to be avoided in seed raising comes principally 
under two heads — mixing of varieties and deterioration. 


If more than one variety of a species is grown on the same farm it 
will be difficult to keep them pure. The difficulty may be overcome 
in a measure by separating the plants grown from seed as far as pos- 
sible. But, as is shown elsewhere, natural crossing can not always 
be avoided within the limits of a farm. A more certain method is to 
grow seed of but one variety in any year. By growing them in rota- 
tion two or three related varieties may be maintained on one farm 
without mixing. 

As a rule, seed more than one year old will not have as good ger- 
minating power as fresh seed, but with proper care in harvesting and 
storing most seeds will retain a sufficient vitality to be used after two 
or three years. It is, however, not advisable to use old seed, except 
when necessary. In most cases one variety of a kind will be sufficient 
for the ordinary kitchen garden, and where this is true the multipli- 
cation of varieties should be avoided. 

Deterioration of varieties can be prevented by constant care in 
selecting the seed-bearing plants. Only the best plants should be 
selected, and these should be raised for seed only. Too much stress 
can not be placed upon the folly of leaving some of the poorest plants 
for seed because they can not be used for anything else. 

Seed peas and beans should be saved from the best plants, selected 
for the purpose, and not from those from which a crop has been gath- 
ered. Radishes, turnips, and beets that are not good enough for table 
use are also unfit for producing seed. Cabbage seed grown from the 
stump after the head has been marketed is certain to be inferior and 
to give poorer plants the next season than seed saved from the sound- 
est and best heads. 

In selecting the plants the grower will of course be guided by the 
purpose in view. If he wishes early peas, he will select the plants 
that yield the earliest pods ; if a sound head of cabbage is wanted 
rather than earliness, plants having this quality best developed will 
be selected for seed. In every case plants showing the desired quali- 
ties to greatest perfection should be set apart. In this way a variety 
will not only be kept up, but may even be improved. Seedsmen main- 
tain the type of a variety by a rigid "rogueingh" of their fields, that 
is, destroying all plants not conforming to the type. Some varieties 
would "run out" in a few years if this .practiced. 

Another source of deterioration is inbreeding. Where the same 
stock is raised year after year on the same place, it is almost sure to 
suffer a loss of vigor if not of quality. Usually this may be remedied 
by the occasional introduction of fresh stock. Even if the seed was 


grown on a neighboring farm, the conditions would be slightly differ- 
ent and the plants would be of different ancestry. The plants from 
this seed grown beside those from the home stock would cross with 
the latter, and the result would be increased vigor and productiveness 
without any injury to the variety. 

Only second in importance to the selection of the plants is the selec- 
tion of the seed itself. Not all the seed even of a good plant should 
be used for reproduction. Of the seeds gathered from prime plants 
some will be better than others. Only the largest, plumpest seeds 
should be preserved. It is true that large seeds from poor plants may 
be worse than small seeds from good plants, but the best is never too 
good. By saving only the largest seeds from the most nearly typical 
plants the stock can not fail to be improved year after year. Too much 
emphasis can not be placed upon this matter of selection. The selec- 
tion of the best seed from typical plants is as essential to continued 
success in agriculture as are good soil and careful cultivation. 

If a farmer is unwilling to exercise care in the production of seed, 
he would do much better not to attempt it. It takes years to build 
up a good variety, but a few seasons of carelessness in saving seed 
will suffice to destroy it. If he will not or can not exercise care in 
selection and in preventing undesirable crosses, the farmer would do 
much better to purchase seed each year. He may occasionally get a 
poor lot of seed, but if he buys from reliable dealers success will be 
far more frequent than failure. 


Seed should be allowed to ripen on the plant when possible, but 
must be gathered before the pods burst. Where there are but a few 
pods, they can of course be picked by hand when the seeds are fully 
matured. Seedsmen find it necessary to harvest the crop a little 
before full maturity, in order to prevent loss of seed. Melon and 
other wet seeds should be carefully spread out to dry, after which 
they can be safely kept for several years. When the seed on a plant 
ripens unevenly, the stalk may be cut and set away in a dry shady 
place to mature. The immature seeds, if not too young, will ripen 
and be of good quality. 

When the seeds have been cleaned, they should be kept in a dry 
place. Seeds can safely endure natural extremes of heat and cold 
if kept dry. The way seeds are stored materially affects the length 
of time they will remain good. Seeds carefully grown, selected, and 
stored will repay all the attention bestowed upon them. A good 
farmer gives constant attention to selection and care in his treat- 
ment of live stock, corn, wheat, and potatoes, but too few give to 
their vegetable gardens the attention that they deserve. Greater 
care in selecting or purchasing seed would go far toward improving 
the condition of the farm garden and making it provide an unfailing 
supply of choice vegetables for the home table. 


By C. L. Marl att, 
First Assistant Entomologist, TJ. S. Department of Agriculture. 


The semitropical climate and other favoring conditions of much of 
California have made this region the great fruit center of America. 
Serious drawbacks to horticulture, however, have not been entirely 
wanting, and, in fact, the very conditions which make the growth of 
a great variety of fruits possible prove most favorable also for the 
presence arid multiplication of many grievous insect enemies. These 
were early introduced on plants received from all quarters of the 
world, and the problem of insect control had, therefore, to be 
promptly met. It was taken hold of with such intelligence and vigor 
both by individuals and by the State authorities, and the outcome has 
been so successful, that the present system of control in California 
furnishes one of the best practical guides for similar efforts elsewhere. 

The following paragraphs summarize impressions gained during a 
four weeks' study, in October and November, 1896, of horticultural 
entomology in California, particular attention being given to the scale 
insects of citrus and other fruits, and the results of the importation 
from Australia and New Zealand of certain parasites and predaceous 
enemies of these scale insects. 


The visitor from the East is first impressed with the distinctive cul- 
tural conditions in California and the important bearing these have 
on insect control. The necessity of irrigation for almost all fruits, 
including all citrus trees, limits cultivation to comparatively well- 
defined tracts and greatly facilitates the thorough inspection of 
orchards. The greater value of the products makes possible also a 
much greater annual outlay in care of land and expenditures for the 
proper maintenance of healthy conditions of trees and measures look- 
ing to the prevention of inroads of injurious insects. The growing of 
fruits is commonly also the only industry of importance, and there- 
fore there is no division of interests. All this contrasts markedly 
with the conditions obtaining in the East, where fruits are grown by 
nearly every farmer and usually as a mere accessory to the regular 
farm crops, under such conditions as to make it often impracticable 



to undertake expensive remedial measures, and over such wide areas 
and often in such out-of-the-way places that inspection and control 
are rendered almost impossible, at least with the thoroughness and 
care practiced on the Pacific Coast. 

Other influences which have an important bearing on the relation 
of insects to fruits in California are the climatic conditions, particu- 
larly the summer heat and the long' summer drought. Heat is a most 
important factor, and it has been repeatedly demonstrated that where 
the temperature remains, as it often does, at 106° F., or above, for two 
or three days at least two-thirds of the black scale are killed. As an 
illustration of this, it may be stated that during the summer of 1896, 
when the drought was unusually severe and the temperature corre- 
spondingly excessive, it was the experience at Riverside that at least 
90 per cent of the black scale was destroyed by heat, including even 
eggs beneath the parent scales. The benefit from this source obtains 
in greater or less degree in the case of all the important scale insects 
of both citrus and deciduous trees, and is a means of protection which 
is rarely, if ever, experienced in cooler or moister climates; in fact, it 
does not hold in northern California, where the rainfall is greater and 
the summer temperature less severe. The destruction of scale insects 
from this cause may be facilitated by the system of pruning which 
opens up the tree by the removal of interior growth, and such pruning 
is practiced and recommended by many growers in southern California. 

When considered, however, in connection with the imported lady- 
bird enemies of scale insects, which will be later discussed, the dry 
heat and pruning are both inimical. These introduced parasites need 
a certain amount of moisture for successful multiplication, hence their 
usefulness is most marked in the moister coast region, and advocates 
of reliance on parasites discourage pruning, since a dense interior of 
citrus and other trees furnishes the needed shade and moisture, and 
also protects from bird and other enemies. The need of such protec- 
tion is illustrated about San Francisco and northward, where the 
imported ladybirds are less successful on account of lack of shelter 
afforded by deciduous trees, particularly in winter. 


Perhaps the most important element in the management of injuri- 
ous insects in California is the present system of official inspection 
and control, which is the outgrowth of many earlier experiments in 
this direction. Without going into details or alluding to the very 
important supervisory work of the State board of horticulture, atten- 
tion will be drawn merely to the county system of inspection. Each 
county has or may have, on petition of fruit growers, county horti- 
cultural commissioners, who are practically official entomologists and 
have charge of all matters relating to injurious insects, both as to 
quarantining against their introduction on plants and their eradication. 


These commissioners either do their own inspecting or are empow- 
ered to employ local inspectors, who may number from one to twenty- 
five or thirty, according to the number of districts into which the 
county may be divided. The local inspectors are supposed to be 
familiar with the common scale insects and experienced in the appli- 
cation of remedies, and they make, at sufficiently frequent intervals, 
what is practically a tree-to-tree inspection, and are empowered to 
enter all premises and enforce action. The result is that the presence 
of injurious scale or other insects is commonly detected at the very 
outset and remedial measures are promptly instituted. An entirely 
different state of affairs from what we are familiar with in the East 
is thus brought about. Instead of neglect until a serious stage is 
reached, perhaps beyond repair, the insect rarely gets a foothold and 
is stamped out before any real injury results. Work is therefore, in 
the main, not remedial, but preventive, and in going through the 
orchards of citrus or other fruits in California one is usually impressed 
with the almost complete freedom from injurious insects, and, from 
an Eastern standpoint, treatment of any sort would be often deemed 
entirely unnecessary. Here, however, if a few scale be discovered, 
the trees are promptly treated, often in an expensive way, the owners 
and all interested fully appreciating the fact that it is much better to 
prevent the increase of noxious insects at considerable cost, if neces- 
sary, while the plant is still in nourishing and vigorous condition 
rather than to wait until it is weakened and the possibility of its 
response to treatment is rendered doubtful. One witnesses, there- 
fore, fumigating or spraying operations where scarcely a scale is to 
be seen, and it is by this constant and minute inspection and prompt- 
ness in treatment that the excellent condition of the orchards is main- 
tained. Remedial work is often done under the supervision of experts 
detailed by the county commissioners and frequently under contract 
by persons who make a business of it, the charge being either so much 
per tree, as with treatment with gas, or so much per gallon, with 
washes. The conditions outlined apply with especial force to the 
citrus districts of southern California. 

In addition to this very careful supervision of existing plantings 
is the strict enforcement of quarantine regulations as a safeguard 
against the importation of new insect enemies to fruits. Very careful 
regulations on this subject have been enacted, the latest dated August 
15, 1894. These regulations prevent the debarkation at any point in 
the State of California of living plants or fruits until they have been 
carefully inspected by quarantine officers, and, if necessary, properly 
fumigated. In the case of badly infested stock or wherever insects or 
diseases new to the State are found the material is destroyed out- 
right. The quarantine regulations apply to all material brought in 
from Central or South America or other foreign countries on steam 
or sailing vessels, the ships being visited by a quarantine officer at the 


moment of their arrival in port, and also cover the introduction of 
plants from other States or adjacent countries on the lines of railroads 
entering California. The Southern Pacific Company and Wells, Fargo 
& Co. notify the State quarantine officer of the arrival of trees and 
plants at their different stations, and instruct their agents not to 
deliver the material to the consignees iintil it has been properly 
inspected. This inspection is carried on by a chief quarantine officer 
at San Francisco and by the local authorities in the different counties. 
The amount of infested material which is by this system intercepted 
from year to year is enormous, and shows how readily and constantly 
insect pests and plant diseases may be introduced with living plants 
where no preventive measures are taken. At the port of San Fran- 
cisco alone, during the year 1893, 156 steamers and sailing vessels 
from foreign countries had on their manifests, in possession either 
of the passengers or crew, plants or trees. This was out of a total 
of 400 vessels inspected. The great bulk of these plants came from 
Japan, but nearly all the transpacific countries were represented, as 
well as South and Central America and Mexico. Very many of these 
plants were infested with injurious insects already present in Cali- 
fornia, but frequently with species not hitherto known in the State. 
In connection with the inspection for insects, other dangers are also 
averted. No less than five flying foxes were intercepted on shipboard 
and killed. This bat, or vampire, is a great menace to fruit interests 
in Australia, and would have like dangers for California. 


The most destructive insect enemies of fruits in California are un- 
doubtedly the scale insects, few if any other insects, aside from the 
grape Phylloxera, at all approaching them in this respect. Of these, 
the ones of greatest moment, and in the control of which vast sums 
of money are expended, are the black scale, the red scale, and the San 
Jose scale. For the olive and the citrus plants the black scale is the • 
most important, and for the deciduous plants the San Jose scale takes 
similar rank. 

Of the three scale insects mentioned, the most serious pest at the 
present time in California is undoubtedly the black scale (Lecanium 
olece), which occurs practically all over the State, and, in fact, has a 
world-wide distribution. This insect is not only a heavy drain on the 
vigor of the trees, but exudes a great quantity of honey dew, in which 
a fungus propagates, creating a black stifling deposit which adheres 
closely to the twigs and leaves and discolors the fruit. This scale 
infests both citrus and deciduous trees, but is particularly injurious to 
the former and also to the olive. It is practically limited, so far as 
severe injuries from it result, to the moist coast regions. The moun- 
tain districts remote from the coast have hitherto seemed unfavorable 
to it, although it is now slowly extending its range into these districts 


and is there becoming gradually acclimatized. The mature scale or 
the eggs beneath the old scale can not be killed with the gas treat- 
ment or any other practicable method so far discovered, and hence it 
must be proceeded against in its immature stages. In the lower por- 
tions of the State, from Los Angeles southward, the hatching of this 
scale, which is single brooded, is comparatively uniform and is usu- 
ally almost altogether completed by the end of October, when treat- 
ment either with gas or washes will be effective. In the coast district 
about Santa Barbara the period of hatching is much prolonged, 
extending from September well into November or December. At the 
time of the writer's visit, early in November, scales in all conditions 
were found on trees at Santa Barbara, many with unhatched eggs, 
and about San Francisco hatching had hardly begun. Where such 
irregularity occurs, the difficulty and expense of treatment are greatly 
increased, on account of the necessity of repeating the applications 
several times. 

The red scale {Aspidiotus aurantii) is a distinctive enemy of citrus 
trees, and, in common with the black scale, is much more injurious 
near the coast, doing most damage in the old seedling orchards in the 
vicinity of Los Angeles. Still, in many of the best citrus districts, 
including Riverside, Redlands, Pomona, Ontario, etc., this scale is 
not at all bad and has never caused much loss, largely from the fact 
that treatment has always been instituted so promptly that the scale 
has never gained a real foothold. It seems, however, as with the 
black scale, to be slowly extending its range and adapting itself to 
the upland climate. In common with the San Jose scale, the red 
scale is subject at times to the attacks of a. contagious disease or 
fungus, which affects both young and mature scales. This has been 
especially noticed in the district south of Los Angeles. 

The third important scale in California is the San Jose scale {Aspi- 
diotus perniciosus). This enemy of deciduous fruits, nearly all of 
which it attacks, is much less injurious now than in its earlier his- 
tory, especially in the Santa Clara Valley, which includes the San 
Jose district, and in southern California. The statements which have 
been made, however, that it is no longer injurious in California are 
quite erroneous. The conditions of climate, already referred to, 
sometimes kill it out, and often it seems to be destroyed by a fungous 
disease, but in the very districts where these influences are most 
active orchards neglected or improperly sprayed exhibit trees in as 
bad condition as can be" found in any of the orchards of New Jersey 
or Maryland. The action of its two most active enemies, Chilo- 
corus bivulnerus and Aphelinus fuscipennis, breeding, as they do, 
the year round almost, is undoubtedly greater than in the East, where 
their usefulness is limited to but little more than half the year. The 
standard remedy for this scale in California, viz, the lime, salt, and 
sulphur wash, is undoubtedly thoroughly effective, and it is the 


constant and thorough treatment with this wash that in the main 
keeps the orchards in their present satisfactory condition. 

Many other scale insects in California are important at times, but 
much less so than the three mentioned above. 

The white scale (Icerya purchasi), which, before the introduction 
of its imported ladybird enemy (Vedalia cardinalis) (fig. 51), threat- 
ened the very existence of citrus cultures in California, is now no 
longer an important injurious insect. Very rarely are colonies of it 
found, and usually scattered specimens only can be seen. In southern 
California important scale insects new to the State have been recently 
introduced, such as the long scale (Mytilaspis glover ii) and the purple 
scale (M. citricola). These serious enemies of citrus trees were intro- 
duced about 1889 or 1890 with two car loads of citrus trees from 

Florida, which were planted 
without inspection in the Rivera 
and San Diego Bay districts. 
With the same lot of trees came 
also the rust mite (Phytoptus 
oleivorus), which has gained a 
foothold in the important lemon 
districts about San Diego. In 
Florida this mite is not now con- 
sidered especially objectionable, 
rusty oranges often commanding 
better prices than bright ones, on 
account of their being sweeter 
and otherwise preferable. In the 
case of the lemon, however, an 
injury to the rind is an impor- 
tant consideration, a perfect rind 
being absolutely essential to the 
lemon on account of the valuable 
products obtained from this portion of the fruit and the uses to which 
it is put. Extended reference will not be made here to other impor- 
tant insects, such as the clover mite (Bryobia pratensis), locally 
known as the red spider; the peach-tree borer (Sannina pacified) ; the 
peach- twig borer (Anarsia lineatella) ; the grape root-louse {Phylloxera 
vastatrix), etc. 



In no country in the world has the possibility of control of insects 
by introducing and fostering their natural enemies been so thoroughly 
tested as in California. The very notable instance of the entire eradi- 
cation of the white scale by the introduction from Australia of its 
ladybird enemy, Vedalia cardinalis, demonstrated the possibilities in 

Fig. 51. — Vedalia cardinalis (the imported lady- 
bird enemy of the white scale): a, ladybird 
larvse feeding on female scale; 6, pupa, and c, 
adult ladybird; d, orange twig showing scale 
and ladybird's natural size (original). 



tli is direction in the most striking way. This one experiment saved 
the State its citrus industry, or the equivalent of many millions of 
dollars, and gave the greatest confidence in many quarters in this 
means of controlling insects, as well as incited the later action 
looking to the introduction of beneficial insects on a much larger 
scale l>y legislative enactment, approved March 31, 1891, $5,000 
was appropriated by the State of California "for the purpose of send- 
ing an expert to Australia, New Zealand, and adjacent countries to 
collect and import into this State parasitic and prcdaeeous insects." 
With the consent of the honorable Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. 
Albert Koebelc, a field agent of the 
Division of Entomology, stationed at 
Alameda, Cal., who had previously 
been instrumental in introducing Ve- 
i In I in cardinalia, was detailed for the 
work, the expenses of the trip being 
borne by the State of California. His 
chief object was to obtain predaceous . 
insects which might exterminate the 
black scale, the red scale, and the San 
Jose scale. Mr. Koebele's mission 
lasted upward of a year, and during 
this time ho imported into California 
probably 00,000 specimens, represent- 
ing very many species, chiefly of lady- 
birds. Five or six of these species took 
hold well from the start, and two or 
three of them are still represented 
abundantly in the orchards of Cali- 
fornia, the others having practically 
disappeared. The important ones re- 
maining include a very efficient preda- Fl<: . v.-imzobiu* wnt™w. (the im- 

ceolis enemy of the black Scale ill the ported ladybird enemy of the black 
,.,,, t-,1 • 7 ■ i t in fn\ i scale): a, larva, and b, beetle, both 

little Ehizobius ventrahs (fig. 52), and groatlv enlarged . ,., twig ot „„ lim ,. 

two much smaller species, H. ill hill's with black scale, natural size (orig- 
aild li. toowoonibce, which attack the 

black scale, and also the red scale and San Jose scale to a less extent. 
The latter of the smaller species (R. toowoombcE-lnjiluiiiln ) had already 
been accidentally introduced into California prior to Mr. Koebele's 
last trip, and is much the more abundant and widely distributed 
of the two. 

Two other species which obtained a foothold at the start and gave 
great promise are Orciis chahjbeus and O. australasice. The former 
was liberated in an orchard near Los Angeles and multiplied consid- 
erably for a time, but disappeared almost entirely during the winter 
of 1895-00. Both of these species obtained a good foothold on the 


ranch of Hon. Ellwood Cooper, near Santa Barbara, and up to the 
winter mentioned were very abundant, particularly the 0. australasiaz, 
which at one time, on the authority of Mr. Cooper, could be taken by 
the handful where it had collected together, as does the common lady- 
bird, for hibernation. It has now, however, practically disappeared. 
The disappearance of these two species seems due partly to climatic 
conditions and, in the case of Mr. Cooper's ranch, to the almost com- 
plete exhaustion of the black scale, which furnished their principal 
food supply. The two species, therefore, now of particular impor- 
tance are Bhizobius ventralis and B. toowoombce,. The closely allied 
and rarer B. debilis can be distinguished from the latter with diffi- 

Bhizobius ventralis was early colonized on the Cooper ranch, and 
during the last three years has been distributed in enormous numbers 
to different parts of the State, 300,000 or 400,000 having been colo- 
nized in southern California alone. This beetle is by far the most use- 
ful of the recent importations by Mr. Koebele, and has already done 
much good. It is about one-eighth of an inch long, oval, and in color 
nearly black, but clothed with whitish hairs, which give it a grayish 
appearance. A few pairs were received by Mr. Cooper in May, 1892, 
and by October of the following year they had so multiplied that 453 
colonies had been distributed and the black scale was stamped out in 
the olive orchard where they had been originally liberated. The larvse 
of this insect are found throughout the winter, and it practically breeds 
the year round in southern California. Colonies are easily sent out 
by inclosing them in wooden boxes with some dampened sphagnum 

Many fruit growers are discouraged and resume spraying because 
the scale is not immediately exterminated by the ladybirds, forgetting 
that at least a year or eighteen months is necessary for the introduced 
ladybirds to become numerous enough to be effective, and a year or two 
more, perhaps, to exterminate the scale. This insect requires favor- 
able conditions of moisture and winter protection and dense foliage 
to maintain it successfully, and considerable care has to be exercised 
to effect its colonization. It often happens that colonies of several 
thousand liberated together will entirely fail, and at other times a few 
hundred or a much smaller number will take hold and multiply enor- 
mously. One great difficulty in the introduction of colonies of lady- 
birds is the fact that they are preyed upon by the little lizards, which 
are very abundant, and also by birds. 

In notable instances this ladybird has effected the entire eradication 
of the black scale in badly infested orchards. This is particularly 
true of the Cooper ranch and in the coast regions of southern Califor- 
nia, where the conditions are most favorable. In the more elevated 
and dryer fruit districts of southern California, and in northern Cali- 
fornia on deciduous trees, it is not very successful against the black 


scale, and in the latter situation fails to winter well on account of the 
lack of protection furnished by deciduous trees. It is an active enemy 
of all the Lecanium scales, and will also feed on plant lice. 

The best results with these imported ladybirds are exhibited on 
the ranch of Hon. Ellwood Cooper, president of the State board of 
horticulture, and so fully convinced is Mr. Cooper of the efficiency 
of these natural enemies that he has abandoned all other means of 
control. Mr. Cooper's ranch, which is a very extensive one, has large 
orchards of olives, with smaller lemon and orange orchards and tracts 
planted to figs and persimmons, together with nut-bearing trees, etc. 

Before this last importation of ladybirds was made Mr. Cooper's 
olives, persimmons, lemons, etc., were badly infested with the black 
scale, the trees being much blackened with the associated fungus, and 
the fruit products inferior and limited in consequence. About three 
years ago Mr. Cooper discontinued the application of washes to his 
trees and put entire reliance on the imported ladybirds to control the 
black scale. Mr. Cooper's ranch at the present time is practically free 
from the black scale, and his trees are bright and clean in appearance. 
He ascribes all of this benefit to the ladybirds, particularly Bhizobius 
ventralis, with some assistance from the smaller Rhizobiids and the 
two species of Orcus already mentioned. Probably all these lady- 
birds still occur on his ranch, the Rhizobiids, at least, being present 
in some numbers. The black scale still occurs scatteringly on his 
ranch, or, as he expresses it, "barely enough for seed." In fact, it is 
not expected that these ladybird enemies will effect the complete 
destruction of scale insects, nor would this be in accordance with 
nature, but their champions hold that they will keep these enemies 
of fruit trees in such check that no important damage will result. 
Rather than have the scales and their ladybird enemies with them 
entirely disappear, Mr. Cooper is contemplating colonizing the scale in 
isolated groves as ladybird farms, so as to have material in readiness 
in case of need for general dissemination throughout his orchards. 

Mr. Cooper seems to have demonstrated and, he says, has thor- 
oughly convinced himself that spraying and gassing can not be used 
in conjunction with these natural enemies. All of these treatments 
are very prejudicial to the successful multiplication of the ladybirds, 
and so fully convinced is he of this that he refuses to send out col- 
onies of ladybirds to anyone who sprays or otherwise treats his 
trees. He goes so far, in fact, as to hold that to spray where lady- 
birds have been liberated should be made a criminal offense, with a 
severe penalty attached. His own experience is certainly very in- 
structive, and seems to bear out his conclusions. Spraying had been 
constantly practiced on this ranch prior to the introduction of lady- 
birds, and was continued some time after they had been introduced. 
In one instance some forty-nine trees in the center of an olive orchard 
12 A96 15 


were left unsprayed, the surrounding trees being treated with kero- 
sene emulsion. BJiizobius ventralis was introduced about the same 
time or soon after. Immediate benefit was noticed in the greater 
vigor and healthier color of the sprayed area, contrasting with the 
blackened or sooty appearance of the unsprayed portion. The lady- 
birds, however, worked altogether on the trees which had not been 
sprayed, and refused to take hold at all elsewhere. As a result, nine 
months or a year afterwards, the condition of things was reversed,, 
the sprayed trees were again black and sooty, and the unsprayed trees 
were freed of the scale by the Rhizobiids, and were of a healthy bright 
color. The difference in the appearance of the two portions of the 
grove was noticeable at a distance and remained so for some time 
afterwards, and convinced Mr. Cooper that the presence of the wash 
on the trees was sufficiently distasteful to the Rhizobiids to deter them 
from working in the sprayed portion of the grove for a long period. 
lie holds, therefore, that the failure of the Rhizobiids to take hold 
effectively in many places is- due to the fact that the owners of these 
ranches continue spraying, Mr. Cooper's experience has been so suc- 
cessful that he is convinced that all injurious insects can be controlled 
by the introduction of the proper natural enemies,, with the resulting 
saving of the amount now spent in washes, etc., which, in his case, 
was four or five thousand dollars yearly. 

That in some measure the disappearance of the black scale on Mr. 
Cooper's ranch is due to the effect of climate or disease is a fair infer- 
ence, in view of the experience elsewhere ; but the condition of his 
grove, as contrasted with other groves at Santa Barbara,, seems to 
warrant the giving of much credit to the ladybirds, It will take,, how- 
ever, an experience of some years to demonstrate whether the scales, 
which are now nearly exterminated, will be kept by these ladybirds 
from reappearing in destructive numbers, and, if they do reappear, 
whether the ladybirds will again bring them under subjection. 

Of the other insects imported by Mr. Koebele, two are worthy of 
mention. One of these, Cryptolcemus mo?itrousieri f is an important 
enemy of several Coccidae, such aa the mealy bug, Pulvinaria, etc. 
This is the species which was introduced in Hawaii, and has been so 
successful there in ridding coffee plantations of Pulvinaria psidii. 
It is being reared in confinement and distributed in portions of south- 
ern California, where the mealy bug is an important pest, and speci- 
mens brought to Washington have demonstrated their usefulness by 
cleaning orange trees in the hothouses of the Department of Agricul- 
ture of mealy bugs. It gives promise of being a valuable outdoor 
enemy wherever the climate is favorable, and in the North and East 
will be a valuable indoor means of controlling soft scales. The other 
ladjdnrd referred to is Novius koebelei OIL, which preys upon sev- 
eral injurious scales, and is quite as important an enemy of the white 
scale as Veclalia cardinalis. 


The benefit from native parasitic insects was also very noticeable,; 
particularly the parasitism of the brown apricot scale (Lecanium 
armeniacum Craw) by Comys fusea, in the Santa Clara Valley, fre- 
quently amounting to the parasitism of from 75 per cent to 90 per 
cent of the scales. The San Jose scale is also very abundantly para- 
sitized by the Aphelinus fuscvpennis. Of the native ladybirds the- 
most efficient is the common twice-stabbed species, Chilocorus bivul- 
nerus, which, as an enemy of the San Jose scale, is much more impor- 
tant than any of the imported species and is also a general scale feeder, 
and occurs abundantly in orchards throughout the State. 


Much of the work with insecticides in California has been similar 
to that done elsewhere, yet the two or three most effective means of 
destroying insects originated in California and are still peculiar to 
the Pacific Slope. Important among these are the gas treatment, the 
resin washes, and the lime, sulphur, and) salt wash. 

It may be stated of all the washes or other methods, that the com- 
plete destruction of the scale is rarely if ever secured by their use, and 
is not, indeed, hoped for. Experience has shown that the best that can 
be done is to effect a practical elimination of the scale for the time 
being, and it is often necessary to repeat the treatment every year or 
two. In exceptional cases it may not be necessary to do this more 
than once in three years. AH applications are therefore recognized to 
be as necessary and continuous a charge on the crop as is cultivation 
or irrigation. 


The use of hydrocyanic acid gas- originated in California, and was 
perfected by a long period of experimentation by an agent of this 
division, Mr. D. W. Coquillett. It has not been followed to any extent 
elsewhere, however; but in southern California it is held to be the 
best treatment for citrus trees and is now better understood and 
more satisfactory than ever before. It is especially applicable to citru* 
trees, the abundance of foliage and nature of the growth of which 
enables comparatively heavy tents- to be thrown over, them rapidly 
without danger of breaking the limbs. With deciduous trees it has> 
net been practicable to use tents to any extent, except in the ease of 
nursery stock, which may be brought together compactly and treated 
in mass under tents. This gas is also the principal agency used in 
disinfecting material coming into California from abroad. 

The practice of "gassing" or "fumigating," as it is called, differs 
very little from the method employed a number of years ago when the 
process, was first perfected, the main difference being in the fact that 
refined cyanide (98 per cent) is- generally used in preference to the 
fused 58 per cent grade hitherto employed. The latter gives good 


results when it is uniform, but, unfortunately, this is rarely the case, 
and even in different parts of the same barrel great variation often 
occurs. Only about two-thirds as much of the stronger cyanide is used 
as of the weaker grade. The following table, prepared by Mr. John 
Scott, horticultural commissioner of Los Angeles County, gives the 
proportion with the stronger cyanide for trees of different sizes: 

Height of tree 

through foliage 


(fluid ounces). 

Sulphuric acid 
(fluid ounces). 



































































The old statement that less time is required for small trees or plants 
than for larger ones is found to be an error, and, in fact, it is reason- 
able that an insect is no more easily killed on a small plant than on 
a large one. The limit in application of gas is to apply it at a strength 
and for a length of time, forty to forty-five minutes, as great as the tree 
can stand, and, in fact, the tender terminals of the tree should be 
slightly scalded, which is proof that the gas is of proper strength, and 
treatment of this character is necessary to destroy the red scale and 
the young of the black scale. For very contact trees with dense 
foliage from one-fourth to one-third more gas should be generated, 
and this is true also of the moister coast regions, or within 10 miles 
of the coast, the moisture or the cold surface of the leaves condensing 
a certain proportion of the gas. In the case of young trees and nurs- 
ery stock there is much less danger of scalding if the gas be generated 
slowly, either by employing a greater amount of water or using the 
cyanide in large lumps. 

Trees are fumigated for the black scale in southern California in 
October, or preferably in November, the young black scales in this 
part of the State having usually all emerged by October 1. After the 
black scale has abandoned the leaves and gone back to the twigs and 
fixed itself firmly, the gas is no longer effective against it. The red 
scale may be treated with gas at any time, but preferably at the sea- 
son already alluded to. The applications are made at night because 
the action of sunlight powerfully increases the scalding effect of the 
gas on the leaves. Most of the work is done by contract or under 

Method of operating Tents in the Hydrocyanic Acid Gas Treatment. 


the direct supervision of the county horticultural commissioners. In 
Los Angeles County the horticultural commissioner furnishes tents 
and material at a mere nominal charge, together with one experienced 
man to superintend the work, while a crew of four men operate the 
tents. The wages of the director and men are paid by the owner of 
the trees. 

The tents now employed are of two kinds, the " sheet" tent of octag- 
onal shape for large trees, and the "ring" tent for trees under 12 feet 
in height. The ring tents, or, as they are also called, the bell tents, 
shown at extreme right in PI. V, are bell shaped and have a hoop of 
half -inch gas pipe fastened within a foot or so of the opening. Two 
men can easily throw one of these tents over a small tree. An equip- 
ment of 36 or 40 ring tents can be handled by four men. They are 
rapidly thrown over the trees by the crew, and the director follows 
closely and introduces the chemicals. By the time the last tent has 
been adjusted the first one can be removed and taken across to the 
adjoining row. An experienced crew, with one director, can treat 
350 to 400 five-year-old trees averaging in height 10 feet in a single 
night of eleven or twelve hours. The cost under such conditions 
averages about 8 cents a tree. 

With large trees the large sheet tents are drawn over them by means 
of uprights and pulley blocks, as illustrated in PI. V. Two of these 
sheets are necessary for very large trees, the first being drawn half- 
way over and the second drawn up and made to overlap the first. In 
the case of trees from 24 to 30 years old and averaging 30 feet in height, 
about 50 can be treated in a night of ten or twelve hours, with an equip- 
ment of 12 or 15 tents, the cost being about 75 cents per tree. It is 
not feasible to treat trees above 30 feet in height. 

Through the courtesy of Mr. John Scott, referred to elsewhere, and 
Mr. A. T. Currier, the owner of an orange ranch near Spadra, Cal., the 
writer was given an opportunity of witnessing the method of operat- 
ing both the sheet and bell tents. The handling of the bell tents is 
simple and needs no further description, but the large tents are not 
so easily operated, and the method of adjusting the great flat octago- 
nal sheets over the trees, while simple enough when once understood, 
will have, perhaps, some interest for Eastern fruit growers who may 
desire to experiment with the hydrocyanic acid gas. The only ma- 
chinery employed consists of two simple uprights, with attached 
blocks and tackle. The uprights are about 25 feet high, of strong 
Oregon pine, 2 by 4 inches, and are provided at the bottom with a 
braced crossbar to give them strength and to prevent their falling to 
either side while the tent is being raised. A guy rope is attached 
to the top of each pole and held to steady it by two of the crew sta- 
tioned at the rear of the tree. The tent is hoisted by means of two 
ropes 70 feet long, which pass through blocks, fixed, respectively, at 
the top and base of the poles. The tent is caught near the edge by 


taking a hitch around some solid object, such as a green orange, about 
which the cloth is gathered. By this means the tent may be caught 
anywhere without the trouble of reversing and turning the heavy can- 
vas to get at rings or other fastenings attached at particular points. 
The two remaining members of the operating crew draw the tent up 
against and over one side of the tree by means of the pulley ropes suf- 
ficiently to cover the other side of the tree when the tent falls. The 
poles and tent together are then allowed to fall forward, leavingthe tent 
in position. Sufficient skill is soon acquired to carry out rapidly the 
details of this operation, so that little time is lost in transferring the 
tents from tree to tree, even when the trees approximate the limit in 
height, as was the case where the operation was witnessed. A single 
pair of hoisting poles answers for all the tents used. 

Some practical experience is necessary to fumigate successfully, and 
it will therefore rarely be wise for anyone to undertake it on a large 
scale without having made preliminary experiments. If the cyanide 
treatment is to be introduced in the East, it would be well for fruit 
growers to obtain the services for a year or more of an experienced 
man from California to give them a practical illustration of methods, 
and even in California it is recognized that such work is much more 
economically accomplished when given over to experienced persons 
and done under contract. The gas treatment is probably the most 
thorough of all methods, but complete extermination is very rare. 
Fumigation must therefore be repeated every two or three years, or 
as often as the scale insects reappear in any numbers. 

The canvas employed in the construction of tents may be rendered 
comparatively impervious to the gas by painting lightly with boiled 
linseed oil. This has the objection, however, of stiffening the fabric 
and adding considerably to its weight; it also frequently leads to its 
burning by spontaneous combustion unless carefully watched until 
the oil is dried. A much better material than oil is found in a product 
obtained from the leaves of the common prickly pear cactus (Opun- 
tia englemanni), which grows in abundance in all the southern coun- 
ties of the State. The liquor is obtained by soaking chopped-up 
leaves in water for twenty-four hours. It is given body and color by 
the addition of glue and yellow ocher or Venetian red, and is applied 
to both sides of the canvas and rubbed well into the fiber of the cloth 
with a brush. 


The use of steam for destroying insects is not a new method, but 
has recently been extensively experimented with by Dr. S. M. Wood- 
bridge, of South Pasadena, and the writer was given an opportunity 
to witness the process and to note the results of earlier experiments. 
The method is very simple and practically identical with the gas 
treatment just described. The steam is generated in a boiler, the one 
employed carrying 80 pounds, and is introduced into the tent by means 


of a hose. As practiced by Dr. Woodbridge, the hot steam is first 
directed by hand over the trunk and larger limbs ; the end of the hose 
is then inserted in a box which has been perforated with ineh anger 
holes, the objeet being to so distribute the steam in the tent as to 
prevent its burning the foliage by striking forcibly in one direction. 
The steam is left on until the temperature, determined by an inclosed 
thermometer, rises to 120° F. in the tent. Two degrees higher will 
not injure the tenderest growth, but a temperature of 125° and upward 
will kill every blossom, bud, and leaf. The time required to bring 
the tent to the proper temperature varies with the day and prevail- 
ing winds. A tent 10 by 12 feet in diameter can be brought to th» 
temperature named in from five to ten minutes. When the necessary 
degree of heat is reached, the steam is partly shut off and the mercury 
maintained at the desired point for seven or eight minutes. The 
tent is then removed. On the trees treated to the limit of safety, as 
described, the red scale is killed on the leaves and twigs, but is not 
affected on the fruit. It is claimed for this process, on which there 
is no patent, that it is much cheaper than the use of gas, and that 
a 25-horsepower boiler will furnish steam ia ten hours for 100 trees 
averaging 25 feet in height. Further advantage claimed for this 
treatment is that it is said not to affect beneficial insects. The 
objections to the treatment are the necessity of carrying a cumber- 
some steam apparatus through the orchard, and the fact that the 
tents are liable to become wet from the steam and difficult to handle. 
It is also less successful than gas, which kills the scales on fruit as 
well as on leaves and twigs* The experiments, however, have demon- 
strated that good results can be obtained, and it ia possible that in 
future something practicable in the destruction, of scale insects may 
be accomplished with steam- 
In connection with the above experiments a demonstration was given 
of the use of superheated water.. This also necessitates the use of a 
steam engine, as in the former case. The water, which may contain 
an insecticide or be used merely as a hot spray, is raised to a tempera- 
ture in the boiler indicated by 40 pounds pressure. This, when lib- 
erated through a nozzle at the extremity of a long hose, is equivalent 
to a pressure of about 150 pounds. The liquid escaping from the hose 
breaks up into a forcible, half-steam spray even with a very simple 
nozzle farmed by compressed gas pipe, and is directed onto trees as 
in ordinary spraying operations. The principal advantages are that 
the spray pump is dispensed with and that the liquid is applied at an 
elevated temperature. The spray is, however, cool to the hand in the 
center of the stream at a distance of 18 inches and on the edges at a 
distance of 8 inches from the nozzle, and is not too hot to be borne by 
the hand at a distance of 6 inches from the nozzle. This indicates 
that the temperature of the liquid itself will not ordinarily be suffi- 
cient to kiB the insects. 


These experiments were especially interesting as indicating the 
futility of attempting to kill insects by means of hot sprays. The 
difficulty of recharging the apparatus and the cost of the steam plant 
will probably render this, as a method of applying liquid insecticides, 
impracticable in comparison with the gasoline-spray engines and ordi- 
nary spray pumps now in use. 


This well-known insecticide is used to a very considerable extent in 
California, much more so in recent years than formerly. It is the 
principal insecticide used in the district about San Diego, and is also 
used extensively at Santa Barbara and to a less extent elsewhere in 
the State. The necessity for the use of very large quantities of insect- 
icides in California has led to the establishment by private parties in 
several instances of steam or gasoline plants for the production of 
this insecticide wholesale. Probably the first extensive manufactur- 
ing plant of this sort was set up by Mr. W. R. Gunnis, county horti- 
cultural commissioner, of San Diego, who manufactures the emulsion 
by the aid of a small engine, doing all the work of heating, churning, 
etc., by this means. With coal oil at 11 cents per gallon, he is able 
to produce the emulsion at a charge of 13 cents per gallon in the un- 
diluted state, which makes the wash as applied to the trees, diluted 7 
times, cost a little over 1£ cents per gallon. In his district, Mr. Gun- 
nis claims that the loss from scale insects has been reduced from 79 
per cent to 7 per cent, chiefly by the use of this wash. 

At Santa Barbara, the superintendent of the Las Fuentos ranch, 
Mr. Frank Kahles, has set up a very large plant for the manufacture 
of kerosene emulsion for the use of this ranch alone. The plant is 
similar to that devised by Mr. Gunnis, and the capacity is such that 
the emulsion can be made in quantities of 150 gallons at a time and 
very rapidly. He uses a formula slightly different from the Hubbard. 
The proportions are 35 gallons of whale-oil soap, 100 gallons of kero- 
sene oil, and 50 gallons of water. This is diluted for application to 
trees with 7 parts water, costing in the diluted state If cents per 
gallon. 1 

Kerosene emulsion has probably been given its most extensive trial 
on the Pacific Coast at the Las Fuentos ranch. Two years since 
Mr. Gunnis sent his excellent spraying apparatus to Santa Barbara, 
together with some 8,000 or 10,000 gallons of emulsion, and thoroughly 
sprayed the lemon plantings, comprising upward of 25,000 trees. The 

1 Mr. Kahles was formerly connected with a royal garden in Bavaria. He states 
that kerosene emulsion was used thirty years ago by Herr Schoenfeldt, the head 
gardener in the establishment. Soap was dissolved in hot water, kerosene added, 
and the whole agitated for fif teeh or twenty minutes until an emulsion was formed. 
It was used as a wash for greenhouse and other plants. This seems to be a reliable 
record of the use of kerosene emulsion much older than any records hitherto given. 


present season Mr. Kahles has, with spraying apparatus made from a 
photograph of the Gunnis machine, twice sprayed all the lemon 
orchards with the emulsion. By the Gunnis treatment many trees 
were killed, owing probably to the accumulation of oil in the bottom 
of the reservoir or tank, so that the last 3 or 4 trees with each filling 
received an unusually heavy dose, which, running down the trunk, 
collected in the cavity about the crown caused by the swaying of the 
trees in the wind. The accumulation of oil is obviated in the new 
apparatus constructed by Mr. Kahles by giving the tank a conical 
bottom, so that the liquid may be thoroughly exhausted each tima 
before refilling, and as a further precaution, before treating, the trees 
are mounded up about the base and the earth thoroughly compacted. 
With these precautions no injury has resulted from the later spray- 
ings. The last treatment was given in September and October, 1896, 
the trees having again become thoroughly reinfested with the black 
scale and much blackened. Since the treatment the trees are respond- 
ing very rapidly in new vigorous growth and the fungus is rapidly 
peeling off, all the scales which had hatched prior to the application 
having been killed. In this region, however, the black scale hatches 
very irregularly, and a good many young scales have since appeared 
which will make a later spraying necessary. 


This wash is a distinctively Californian insecticide, used much more 
generally than kerosene emulsion and ordinarily employed in the 
important citrus districts extending from Los Angeles to Redlands. 
It is often prepared and the work of spraying is often done by con- 
tractors, who agree to clear orchards from scale at a given charge per 
gallon, usually 4 cents. For small trees 5 years old and under, 1 
gallon is sufficient per tree. Trees of 20 or 30 years' growth require 
from 6 to 8 gallons. 

The formula for this wash varies in different sections. The summer 
wash usually contains 20 pounds of resin, 5 pounds of crude caustic 
soda (78 per cent), or 3£ pounds of the 98 percent, and 2$ pints offish 
oil. The winter wash contains 30 pounds of resin, 9 pounds of crude 
soda, and 4£ pints of oil. The ingredients are boiled in about 20 
gallons of water for two or three hours, hot water being occasionally 
added until 50 gallons of solution are made. This for both formulas 
is diluted to 100 gallons before application to trees. Greater efficiency 
is believed to come from long boiling of the mixture, and it is prefer- 
ably applied hot. It is used on deciduous trees for the black and 
San Jose scales and on citrus trees for the red and black scales, but 
the dense foliage of the latter renders thorough spraying difficult 
except for young trees, and fumigation is much preferred. An im- 
properly made resin wash is also apt to spot the fruit of the orange. 



This is a petroleum compound manufactured at Cleveland, Ohio', 
and sold at $1.25 per gallon. It has been used at Riverside for 
the past year instead of kerosene emulsion or resin wash. It is said 
to be nearly as effective as either of the latter and is much cheaper, 
costing, applied to the trees, about 2 cents per gallon. It is used in 
dilutions of 1 part to 80 or 1 part to 100 of water for the young of the 
black scale. For the red scale a much stronger mixture is required. 
It does not spot the fruit. This wash is not claimed to be the equal 
of the resin wash, but the failure of the orange crop at Riverside, due 
to the frosts of the winter of 1895-96, has discouraged growers, and 
they are unwilling to go to the expense of the resin or gas treatments. 
It is used chiefly against the black scale, which, in the newly hatched 
condition, is comparatively easy to destroy. 


This is the almost invariable remedy for the San Jose scale in Cali- 
fornia, and over much of the State it is undoubtedly very effective. 
Experience with this wash in the East had thrown doubt on its real 
efficiency as an insecticide, and it has been clearly demonstrated that 
in the climatic conditions east of the Alleghanies it is almost valueless. 
In California, however, the demonstration of its usefulness against 
the San Jose scale is complete and the benefit of its application to 
orchards is most manifest. In the vicinity of Pomona, Cal. , some 
unsprayed orchards were visited which were as badly infested with 
San Jose scale as any of our Eastern orchards, while in adjoining 
sprayed orchards the scale was entirely killed and the trees were 
rapidly recovering and showing vigorous and healthy new growth. 
In contiguous orchards, also of the same kinds of trees, similarly treated 
so far as cultivation is concerned, the trees which had been subjected 
to yearly spraying were at least one-third larger than untreated trees. 
This wash is of value also as a fungicide, protecting stone fruits from 
leaf fungi, and is also a protection against birds, the common Cali- 
fornia linnet doing great damage to buds in January and February. 
The wash is almost invariably made and applied by contractors, and 
costs about 5 cents per gallon applied to the trees. It is a winter 
application, being applied in January and February. 

Along the coast region and in northern California,, where moister 
conditions prevail, this wash is very mueh less successful, bearing out 
somewhat the experience of the East and doubtless explained by the 
similarity of climate in the districts mentioned with that of the Atlan- 
tic Seaboard. In making this wash the chief consideration seems to 
be prolonged boiling. The wash itself is practically a sulphide of lime, 
with free lime and salt carried with it. Prolonged boiling will result in 
taking up additional sulphur, and will perhaps add to its caustic 


properties. The proportions of the ingredients and the method of com- 
bining them varies, slightly in different sections. The following is the 
ordinary formula: Unslaked lime^Q pounds; sulphur, 20 paunds; salt, 
15 pounds j one-fourth©! the lime is first slaked and boiled with the sul- 
phur in 20 gallons- of water for two or three howrs ; the remadaidier of the 
lime is slaked and together with the salt is added to> the hot mixture 
and the- whole boiled for a half hour or ait hour longer. Water is then 
added to make 60 gallons of wash. This wash is applied practically 
every year, or as often as the Sam Jose scale manifests itself in any 
numbers. In the coast region and im the northern part of the State it 
is necessary to apply it with greater frequency than; iu the interior 


The apparatus for applying liquids to trees in California are prac- 
tically as used elsewhere. For many years back the means have been 
simple spray force pumps of various styles, usually of not very great 
capacity. Of late years stronger hand pumps, usually with air-pres- 
sure reservoirs, have been employed, and in several notable instances 
well-equipped power spraying apparatuses have been constructed and 
used successfully from one to several years. The first power spray- 
ing apparatus used was the one manufactured by Mr. W. R. Gunnis, 
referred to and described in an article by Dr. Howard, "The use of 
steam apparatus for spraying" (see pages 73 and 74). Thousands of 
trees have been sprayed with this machine about San Diego, and it has 
also been extensively used in other parts of the State. This machine 
has been the basis for at least two others, one of which has been 
employed for a year or two at Riverside, and the other is employed 
on the Las Fuentos ranch, Santa Barbara. With these machines the 
operation is very rapid and is carried on with an efficiency not hith- 
erto equaled with any other apparatus used. For the details of the 
construction of these machines and the methods employed in refilling 
in the field, so that no time is lost, and other points concerning them, 
reference may be made to the article cited above. 


In taking this general view of the insect problem in California, one 
is impressed first with the fact that the peculiar conditions of climate, 
particularly of heat and moisture, and the system of cultivation which 
these necessitate are really more important considerations than any 
others in the control of insects; and as these very conditions are more 
or less local, many of the measures which are successful in Cali- 
fornia will prove impracticable or inapplicable elsewhere. The use of 
gas, for instance, which is so very successful in California with citrus 
trees, can not be easily employed in our Eastern deciduous orchards. 
It will, however, apply to the citrus groves in Florida as well as in 


California. Many of the washes employed in California owe, as has 
been pointed out, their efficiency to climatic conditions, and unless 
these conditions are duplicated elsewhere these washes can not be 
expected to give similar results. This applies particularly to the 
lime, sulphur, and salt wash, and to some extent also to the resin and 
other washes. Of much greater value, however, to Eastern horticul- 
turists is a study of the system of minute orchard inspection practiced 
in California, which, after all, is the most valuable feature in her 
measures for the control of insects and plant diseases. The impor- 
tance of immediate discovery of injury before it has become estab- 
lished needs no especial emphasis. Such orchard inspection, with 
supervision of treatment, in connection with a system of quarantine, 
will do much for Eastern fruit growers. It may be impossible to 
accomplish such work with the same efficiency and thoroughness as 
on the Pacific Coast, due to the greater difficulty of extending inspec- 
tion and treatment over scattered areas of much wider extent, but 
that immense good can be gained can not for a moment be doubted. 
The present system in California is not a theoretical or experimental 
one, but is the outgrowth of the practical experience of years, and it 
is within the power of Eastern fruit growers, by adopting California 
methods so far as they can be made to apply, to save years of experi- 
mentation, which in the end would probably bring about a similar 
system, but only after immense loss to the fruit interests had been 


By B. T. Galloway and Albert F. Woods, 

Chief and Assistant Chief, Division of. Vegetable Physiology and Pathology, 

U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


Speaking generally, the diseases of trees may be divided into two 
classes: (1) Those in which conditions of soil and climate are the con- 
trolling factors, and (2) those where parasitic enemies, such as insects 
and fungi, are the principal agents involved. Some of the more 
important insects were described in the Yearbook for 1895, and there- 
fore the present remarks will be confined for the most part to the 
diseases in which conditions of soil and climate and parasitic fungi 
are involved. 

No sharp line can be drawn between the two classes of diseases to 
which reference has been made. If they were controlled by a single 
set of factors, this might be done, and the question of identifying them 
would then be a very simple matter. Complications, however, are 
always involved, and these become more intricate the more they are 
investigated; in other words, the tree is ready at all times to adapt 
itself, within certain limits, to surrounding conditions, and in doing 
this elements of weakness may be developed which will result in dis- 
ease or death. The adaptability of trees, therefore, to environment 
is a most important matter in considering the question of diseases, 
and to properly understand the latter it may be well to briefly review 
some of the more important points involved in the former. 

It is a matter of common observation that different types of soil and 
climate support different kinds of trees and other plants. It is not 
always, however, because we find certain kinds of trees growing in 
certain soils and under certain conditions, that the peculiarities of the 
soil and surroundings account for their growing there. Such trees 
may grow very much better under different conditions if an oppor- 
tunity is offered; otherwise they will continue to grow where they are, 
at the same time tacitly protesting against their environment by 
responding to the more suitable surroundings if they appear. 

An important matter for consideration in the question of adaptation 
of plants is the fact that the individual is much more susceptible to 
changes than is the species as a whole. For example, an individual 
white oak tree in a moist, warm region would make a growth which 
would quickly dry up if moved to a region where moisture is deficient, 



but where other white oaks were growing, whereas if it had been 
started from the first in the dry region it would have adapted itself to 
the conditions and thrived there. Conversely, the tree growing in a 
dry region or place, if moved to a wet location, is liable to suffer, as 
it is unable to adjust itself to such a sudden change. It is a common 
practice to transplant trees from the forest to yards and other places 
where the conditions of soil and air are quite different from those 
under which the plant originally grew. In such cases it is difficult 
to get the trees to live, owing to their inability to adjust themselves to 
the new requirements. If they do not entirely succumb to the effects 
of changed surroundings, they may, during the period in which they 
are trying to adjust themselves, be attacked by parasitic enemies, 
which will simply result in death in another form. 

From such facts as here adduced it would appear that disease or 
death of trees is largely the res-ult of combinations of unfavorable 
f actors, and that where these latter are favorable to the performance 
of the normal functions of the trees they might continue to live indef- 
initely. Unlike an annual or biennial plant, a tree renews itself 
each year by a thin layer, which forms between the old bark and the 
wood. This layer is the starting point for the next generation, so 
that we have a great mass of dead and dying generations within, 
coated outside with a live generation, which is just as distinct indi- 
vidually from previous generations as a new plant produced from 
a cutting or bud is distinct from the parent,, and which, therefore, 
strictly speaking, is never old. 

As long as the conditions for obtaining food and water from the soil 
and for conducting these to every part of the tree are favorable and 
the effects of climate are not detrimental to growth, the living portion 
of the tree should be as vigorous as ever. These conditions, however, 
are seldom attained, and as a result the duration of life is long or 
short according to the ability of the tree to overcome the difficulties 
in the way of its development. Thus, if there is a continual drain on 
the supply of soil foods, with no addition, the tree will eventually starve 
to death or become so weakened that it will succumb to the attacks of 
parasites; a period of drought may kill many feeding roots, branches, 
and leaves, and as these decay openings will be left for parasitic fungi; 
a period of cloudy, wet weather may do the same by asphyxiating 
many roots and leaves; a severe cold spell may "kill back" young 
growth and injure the young leaves in the spring; a late, warm, and 
moist fall after a dry summer may induce a fall growth which can not 
mature sufficiently to withstand winter cold, and is thus ' ' killed hack ; " 
insects may defoliate the branches and borers mine the trunk and 
limbs, and thus cut off the distribution of food and water and make 
openings for the entrance of parasitic fungi; parasitic fungi may 
attack some part of the tree under certain favorable conditions with- 
out the tree being previously injured; a tender vegetative growth, 


although, perfectly healthy and normal, may at a certain phase of 
development be unable to resist the attack* of certain parasites, while* 
later the parasite may not be able to gafe entrance ;, the chemical com- 
position of the juices, or the prevalence, of sugar, starch, aad acids- 
or base*, may make it. possible for parasite* to attack the tissues: 
during certain stages- of growth,, and thus prodaee disease. 

From, the foregoing,., it will be seen' that aay disease,, no matter how 
simple it may appear on the surface,: involves complications which 
require careful study, and. it is only such study that will enable the 
intelligent grower to obtain the highest successful his work. 



A disease known as "stag head "or "top dry" frequently results 
from lack of proper food in the soil. The trouble manifests itself by 
the gradual death of the top of the tree, the lower branches remaining 
green, but making little active growth. It is common in forests, 
especially where the conditions have been changed by cutting out or 
burning the undergrowth, by greatly thinning out the trees, 1 or by 
excessive drainage of moist areas. It often appears in parks where 
the natural undergrowth has been cut out and" the trees have been, 
thinned, thus exposing large areas to the sun and the washing effects 
of heavy rains. In such cases there is at first, as Hartig points out, 
an accelerated decomposition of the humus which covers the soil. At 
the same time the manufacture of sugar and starch by the leaves is 
increased, owing to an increased supply of light. Stimulated by this 
increase of food, all the benefited trees make a more vigorous growth, 
dormant buds developing into leaves and branches, especially in the 
previously shaded lower parts of the trees. This may continue for a 
few years, or until the stock of humus and other available food mate- 
rial is reduced. The soil then dries out to a considerable depth during 
the summer, and as a result many of the upper feeding roots are 
killed, the natural processes which render plant food available are 
interfered witb> and starvation begins. As the soil becomes poorer 
and poorer the- lower braaches appropriate moslr of the food and water 
aaid the upper ones, not being able to obtain their- share-, die. 

Trees planted' fa* parks, in yards, and afong" streets are especially 
subject to this- disease. <!j-rowiug year after year- where there is no 
addition to the available soil food**, especially nitrogen, and where the 
soil is dried out by the sun and- grass, starvation' necessarily follows. 
The tree therefore gradually stops growing, the branches and limbs 
slowly die; and other diseases set in, until' finally the last branch is 
dead. Another cause of this trouble is often found in the process of 
grading, which removes what good surface soil there is, leaving one 

1 Hartig, Diseases of Trees, pp.. 27.0-272. 


not only of poor physical quality, but also lacking in nitrogen, if not 
in other available soil foods. In planting trees in such places a hole, 
possibly of sufficient size, is dug, and the tree is set in this, probably 
with some richer soil, which will furnish food for an indefinite period, 
according to its quality and amount. If the quality of the soil is 
poor and the amount small, the tree will begin to starve in five or six 
years; if the quality is better and the amount larger, it will last for a 
much longer period. But no matter how good the soil may be to start 
with, unless the food supply is properly renewed it is sure to become 
exhausted as far as the tree is concerned, and starvation, with all its 
incidental troubles, will follow. (Fig. 53. ) 

Preventive measures. — It is evident that a constant supply of proper 
food is necessary to prevent this disease. If the soil is naturally rich, 
well drained, and of good texture, little need be done in the way of 
improving it. Wherever practicable, the ground underneath the tree 
should not be completely sodded, but should be planted to low-grow- 
ing, shade-enduring plants, so that most of it may be worked and 
top-dressed each year, thus keeping up the food supply and the proper 
aeration of the soil. The poorer the soil the greater the precautions 
that must be taken in this direction. When trees are to be set in very 
poor soil, as is often the case in cities, a hole at least 8 feet long, 2 
feet deep, and 3 feet wide should be excavated and good soil sub- 
stituted for that removed. Along streets and walks as large a park- 
ing as possible should be left around the tree. Each year this should 
be spaded as deep as possible without injuring the roots, and then 
top-dressed with good rotten manure enriched by a sprinkling of 
ground bone. Grass or weeds should not be permitted to grow in this 
area, nor should the ground be allowed to become trampled down. If 
these precautions are taken, the health and life of the trees will be 
extended many years beyond what they would under less favorable 


The proper aeration of the soil has an important bearing on the 
health of trees. The amount of air and its circulation are affected by 
the size and arrangement of the soil grains, amount of water present, 
proximity of pavements, filling, grading, etc. Whatever may be the 
cause of imperfect aeration, the effects are far-reaching and impor- 
tant. In the first place, nitrifying organisms can not carry on the 
important process of fixing atmospheric nitrogen in soils deficient in 
air, especially its most important element, oxygen, while other sim- 
ilar organisms may even cause the destruction of what nitrates there 
are present. This is particularly true of wet soils and those of very 
close texture. The presence of much water between the soil grains 
prevents the circulation of air, and there is consequent loss of nitrates, 
the most valuable of all soil foods. But aside from this important 
consideration the plant roots themselves require a plentiful supply of 



oxygen in order to carry on their own life processes. Growth can not 
take place without it, neither can the formation of reserve materials. 
These processes are especially active in roots. A deficiency of oxygen 
for roots at once becomes apparent by cessation of growth, and, if too 
long continued, by the death of the roots, followed by starvation and 
death of the whole plant. 

Trees are often injured in poorly drained soils during a wet period. 
Of course, if the presence of water is constant and the tree has grown 
up under these conditions, 
it will produce many sur- 
face and water roots, thus 
adapting itself to a wet 
situation. We refer here, 
however, especially to soils 
which are too wet only at 
certain periods — low 
places, underlaid by hard 
pan; where ground water 
comes close to the surface; 
or in stiff soils, which, 
becoming saturated, hold 
water for a long time. The 
roots produced in the 
rather dry or moist soil are 
injured or killed during 
wet periods, especially the 
deeper ones, like the tap- 
root and the lower laterals. 
A prolonged wet period fol- 
lowed by a very dry one is 
liable to completely kill the 
tree under such conditions. 
In some of the close- 
textured soils of the West 
and Southwest, naturally 
deficient in aeration, trees 
often suffer or are killed 
during the rainy season, 
or by excessive irrigation. 
When tihe roots are not killed, they are so weakened as to be made 
subject to the attacks of various root-rot fungi. 

Trees planted along the paved streets of towns or cities nearly 
always suffer from a lack of aeration of the soil. The exchange of 
gases between the soil atmosphere and the air is greatly retarded by 
pavements and walks and by the hard -packed surface of roads which 
are not paved. This trouble is especially liable to occur along streets, 
12 A96 16 

Fig. 53. —Stag head soft maple. 


where the ground water is only a few feet from the surface. During 
prolonged rainy weather the water rises, making the soil wet up close 
to the surface. The pavement adds here to the evil of poor under- 
drainage, preventing evaporation and aeration. 

Another means of cutting off the soil air is by filling and deep plant- 
ing. It often happens in grading that soil is filled in around trees, 
sometimes to a depth of several feet. In naturally well-aerated soils 
the damage that may result from this practice is not so great or so 
soon apparent. No special harm may result in such soils if the amount 
added is not more than a foot in depth, but where it exceeds this 
more or less rapid asphyxiation of the roots and lower part of the 
trunk will follow. The tree may not be killed, but it will at least be 
greatly checked and stunted in growth, making it more subject to 
other diseases. 

The same troubles often result from too deep planting, especially 
in heavy soils. The deeper roots rot, and the tree makes a slow, 
stunted growth, and sometimes lasts for many years, when it either 
dies of its own accord, is blown over by the wind, or death is hastened 
by some parasitic disease. Large numbers of young trees set only a 
few inches too deep are killed in this way. 

Preventive measures. — In all cases where there is a lack of aeration 
steps should be taken to keep the ground around the trees stirred. In 
cities parking must be left, and where the ground is hard it should be 
frequently spaded to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, as already described. 
Where the ground has been filled in around the trees, the latter, if not 
too old, may be saved by removing small patches of bark down to the 
wood. This should be done at points beneath the soil so as to induce 
the formation of new roots from th e wounds. Some trees, like willows, 
poplars, beech, and horn beam, but especially shrubs, produce adven- 
titious roots just beneath the surfaee of the ground, and these are able 
to preserve the trees though the deeper roots may be killed. 


Asphyxiation of the roots of trees is sometimes produced by illumi- 
nating gas which has escaped from some gas main near by. It proba- 
bly also acts as a direct poison. Diseases produced by other poisonous 
substances in the soil or by too great concentration of substances not 
poisonous are too rare to warrant their treatment here. The injuries 
from escaping gas can be remedied only by stopping the leak, and 
after removing as much of the old soil as possible filling in with fresh, 
rich earth. 


As already pointed out, no sharp line can be drawn between the 
diseases due to conditions of the soil and of the air. As a matter 
of fact, a weakened state of the tree, due to certain conditions of 
the soil, will make it all the more liable to succumb to atmospheric 


influences. Again, it may happen that very favorable conditions of 
the soil may start growth at a time when it might be injured by cold 
or other conditions of the atmosphere. 


Young leaves and sometimes tender shoots which have pushed out 
during a spell of cold or cloudy, moist weather frequently wither and 
die when suddenly exposed to bright, hot sun . This is ordinarily called 
sun scald. It is not, however, a true scalding of the tissues, but is due 
to the fact that the latter lose water more rapidly than they can obtain 
it, and so wilt and dry out beyond the power of recovery. The excess- 
ive loss of water is brought about mainly by the leaves produced in very 
moist air not being adapted to resist excessive evaporation, even when 
there is an abundant supply of water in the soil and in the main parts 
of the plant. The trouble occurs more often in spring, when growth 
is rapid, and cloudy, moist days are followed by hot, dry ones. Later 
in the season the death of the margins and tips of the leaves of a 
great variety of trees, shrubs, and other plants is often observed. 
This is especially noticeable when a rather moist spring, favorable to 
growth, is followed by dry and very hot weather. Trees making a 
poor, stunted growth suffer most, although any tree is liable to injury 
if the right conditions prevail. In parts of the West and Southwest 
the disease described is produced in a very short time by hot, dry 
winds, which sometimes sweep over the country. Frequently the 
leaves are literally cooked, but oftener the edges wilt, turn red or pale 
yellow, and then dry up. 

Desiccation may also occur in the winter; in such cases parts of the 
tree or even the entire tree may be killed. Evergreens, especially 
pines, are frequently seriously injured from this cause. A few warm 
/days occurring at a time when the roots are frozen or when the ground 
is so cold that it hinders root action, cause the needles to turn reddish 
yellow and fall. Frequently only the tips of the needles at the ends 
of the branches are affected, and again young and exposed trees may 
be thoroughly dried out and killed. Cold, dry winds may bring 
about the same effects as warm ones with sunshine. Any conditions, 
in fact, which will cause a more rapid evaporation of water than the 
roots can supply will, if continued a sufficient length of time, even- 
tually result in the injuries described. 

Preventive measures. — In cases such as have been referred to it 
would be difficult to carry out remedial measures. In most instances 
the injuries are done before any steps are taken to prevent them, and 
of course it is then too late to save the tree or the parts of it that may 
have been injured. The efforts of growers, therefore, should be 
largely toward keeping the trees in such condition that the injuries 
may be prevented. The means of preventing summer desiccation, 
while simple in themselves, are not always easily carried out. In 


cases where the injury results from imperfect root action owing to soil 
conditions, the latter may be changed by drainage, by cultivation, 
and in other ways by which more air is given to the roots. If the soil 
is too dry, as is often the case, its water-holding capacity may be 
improved by proper cultivation, by the addition of organic matter or 
humus, by mulching, etc. Top-pruning in dry seasons will often 
check the excessive demand for water and thus prevent injuries to 
the remainder of the tree. At present there seems to be no practical 
way of preventing the sudden damage which may be done by hot 
winds, except by copious watering of the soil, and even this may not 
always prevent serious injury, owing to the rapid evaporation at such 

In the matter of preventing the winter "blighting," or drying out, 
of evergreens, every effort should be made to keep the roots in such 
condition that they can respond when a demand for water is made 
upon them. It is evident that if the soil is well dried out when winter 
sets in injury will result whenever the conditions already described 
prevail. When practicable, therefore, liberal applications of water 
to the soil may enable the trees to successfully pass through winters 
which, if such precautions were not taken, might prove injurious. 
Liberal mulching with straw or manure may also prove beneficial 
both as a conservator of the moisture and as a means of preventing 
the ground from freezing too deep and hard. 

The most trying time for the trees is when they are young and 
small, that is, before the roots have extended very deep into the soil. 
At very little expense, however, such trees may be protected from 
both wind and sun by straw. 


During periods of long-continued rains or fog, evaporation from the 
leaves of trees is slow, and as a result the entire plant becomes charged 
with water. One of the results of this is an unusual mechanical stim- 
ulation of growth, and this growth is increased by changes in the cell 
contents, which give the cell in question an abnormal attractive power 
for water. Under these conditions nutrition is interfered with and 
the growth produced is thin- walled, unhealthy, easily dried up, and a 
ready prey for insects and fungi. Older parts of the plant are affected 
by these conditions in various ways, one being the production of little 
warts and swellings by the abnormal growth of cells, as described 
above. These may appear on leaves or stems, the tissues of which 
still possess some power of growth. 

It often happens that leaves in the diseased condition described 
become water-logged in spots. This is especially common where 
two leaves are stuck together with a film of water, instances of 
which have been observed this year on the Norway, the hard, and the 
soft maples, as well as on various other trees and shrubs. The close 


contact of the water with the cells of the leaf is very favorable to its 
absorption. Wet, translucent spots appear, especially around any 
little injury like the puncture of an insect or tear in the leaf surface. 
The presence of this water between these cells cuts off their supply 
of oxygen, and consequently they soon die and turn brown. The 
same trouble occurs when the leaf surface remains wet for twenty- 
four to forty-eight hours, even though not stuck to another leaf. 
The conditions about Washington, D. C, for example, have been un- 
usually favorable to this trouble during the present season. In early 
spring vegetation was at first a Kttle retarded by cool weather, but 
this was suddenly followed by good growing weather, during which 
the leaves of most trees and shrubs, especially those of Norway maples, 
pushed out with great rapidity. This latter period was followed by 
one quite dry and warm, during which red spiders increased to unu- 
sual numbers, particularly on the lower and more protected leaves of 
the crown. After this came a period of several days of rainy weather, 
and many of the spiders were washed off, but the leaves where they 
had been working became water-logged, as described elsewhere. The 
Norway maples and horse-chestnuts suffered most, the leaves of these 
trees in many cases appearing to have been scorched by fire. 

Preventive measures. — Water logging and other injuries resulting 
from an excess of moisture in the air are not easily prevented ; in 
fact, it is questionable whether anything practical can be done in 
such cases. However, trees can be made much less liable to such 
trouble by proper care in planting, feeding, etc. As already described, 
such trees as Norway maple and horse-chestnut, which are peculiarly 
susceptible to injuries of this kind, require special care, and it is a 
question whether it would not be best in the end to discard them 
entirely where the conditions are such as to make it almost impossible 
to keep them in health. 


The injuries from freezing are closely related to those brought on 
by desiccation. In fact, freezing of the tissues is a drying out of the 
water which they contain. If the tissues are dried beyond the point 
where they are able to again take up water, they are killed. 

In a state of maturity and rest most of our trees and shrubs indige- 
nous to regions subject to frosts stand freezing without the slightest 
injury, provided they do not thaw out too rapidly. In case of plants 
introduced from warmer climates, however, all degrees of ability to 
withstand cold are to be found, some being killed by the slightest 
frost, while others appear to adapt themselves readily to the changed 
conditions and withstand quite severe freezing. The fact that trees, 
especially exotics, growing in wet situations are more easily injured 
by cold than those growing in drier places, is probably because the 
former do not mature their growth, while the latter do to a great 


extent. This is true also as regards the more succulent parts of 
plants, which are notably more subject to frost injury than the drier 
portions. Smooth-barked trees sometimes have their trunks and 
larger branches injured on the southwest side during winter, the 
injuries being characterized by the death of large patches of bark. 
During the latter part of winter and early spring, when there are 
periods of several days of warm weather, the cambium on the south 
side of the trunk and larger limbs is stimulated to premature activ- 
ity. If the warm spell is followed by cold, freezing weather, these 
partially active areas will be killed, after which they gradually dry 
out, the bark, young wood cells, and cambium shrinking. After a 
time the bark separates from the wood and finally splits. This may 
not occur until pretty well into the summer months, and may not 
then be evident except upon close examination. During rains these 
portions become water-soaked, various ferment and decay-producing 
fungi gain entrance, and the rotting of that part of the trunk begins, 
extending rapidly from year to year, until the tree either blows over 
or is killed. 

Cracks occur in a great variety of trees during very cold spells, 
especially when the fall of temperature is very sudden. It is a well- 
known fact that trees shrink under the influence of intense cold in the 
same way that felled timber does in drying. This shrinkage is due to 
the withdrawal of water from the cell walls, in the first case by freez- 
ing and in the second by evaporation. The extent of shrinkage is 
dependent upon the amount of water withdrawn. The cell walls of 
the outer new wood usually contain more water than do the walls 
of the heartwood. The outer wood will shrink in drying more than 
will the inner wood and will therefore split. The chance of splitting 
is greater when the outer- wood layers freeze before the inner ones, as 
they do during a sudden fall of temperature. This is Hartig's expla- . 
nation of frost cracks and the one which has the most experimental 
evidence in its favor. Other explanations have been given, but it will 
be unnecessary to discuss them here. The cracks usually close up 
again during warm weather and ultimately heal over, doing little 
damage to the trees from the standpoint of this article. 

Preventive measures. — The injuries to the trunks and branches by 
alternate freezing and thawing and the diseases resulting from them 
may be prevented by shading the parts exposed to the sun by means 
of a board set up on the south side of the tree, or, as is sometimes 
done, by screening the parts with straw, burlap, building paper, or 
other material which may be easily fastened to the trunk and branches. 
When once injuries of this kind have been produced, the dead areas 
should be cut out down to the healthy wood and the wound thus made 
covered with coal tar, varnish, or "hard oil." 1 

1 Yearbook of the U. S. Department of Agriculture for 1895, pp. 257-300. 



In the vicinity of manufacturing establishments and often in cities 
and villages where large quantities of bituminous coal are used, 
vegetation, especially trees and other woody plants, are frequently 
seriously injured by the fumes which are thrown off into the atmos- 
phere. Smelting works, fertilizing manufactories, brick kilns where 
soft coal is used, and similar establishments are the principal agen- 
cies involved. Frequently the injuries maybe limited to a small area 
immediately adjacent to the factory or other place from which the 
fumes are given off. Again, the effects of gases may be seen for 
several miles, usually extending farthest in the direction of the pre- 
vailing winds. The effects of such gases on the trees are various, 
and it is often difficult to distinguish the injuries produced in this 
way from those resulting from purely climatic causes. From the evi- 
dence at hand it appears that the chief injury in such cases is due to 
sulphurous and hydrochloric acids, acting singly or in combination. 
The effects of these poisons are shown by the leaves turning reddish 
brown in spots or along the edges and eventually drying up entirely. 
The injuries are cumulative, certain branches of the trees being killed 
each year, while the others may make a feeble, struggling growth, 
owing to the cutting off of the food supply through the injuries to 
the leaves. 

Preventive measures. — The question of remedying or preventing 
such evils is an important one and may often involve complicated 
legal questions. It may happen that the establishment of a factory 
in a certain neighborhood will result in much injury to farmers in the 
immediate vicinity by destroying their trees and crops. All the evi- 
dence goes to show that little can be done toward mitigating the 
trouble in the way of special apparatus for collecting the gases, high 
chimneys, etc. The question therefore resolves itself into one respect- 
ing the rights of the farmer on the one hand and the factory owners 
on the other. These matters, however, are beyond the province of 
this article. 


All portions of the tree are subject to the attacks of fungi — minute 
parasitic plants, whose vegetative parts, known as mycelium, pene- 
trate the tissues and by their action on them cause the various forms 
of blight, rot, etc. The fungi are rapidly propagated by means of 
spores and also in other ways, which do not concern us here. There 
is a very close relation between these organisms and the various other 
factors, such as the condition of the air, soil, etc. , already discussed. 
In other words, the growth and development of the fungous parasites 
are intimately related to the condition of the host, which is in turn, as 
we have already seen, materially affected by the weather and by the 
soil. There are many fungi which under ordinary conditions could 


never injure a tree, and yet if by some chance a favorable opportunity 
is offered they may prove quite destructive. (Fig. 54.) For example, 
a limb may be blown or cut off, hail may make a bruise, or in other 
ways wounds maybe produced, and in these the spores of certain fungi 
may lodge and germinate and start decay that could not have been 
produced in any other way. Trees may succumb to the attacks of 
fungi only in certain stages of growth. Thus, young conifers are 
seldom affected by the disease known as canker, because any wound 
made in the trunk or branches is quickly covered with a coating of 
resin, which prevents the spores of the canker fungus from developing. 

When the trees get to be quite 
old, however, the wounds are 
not covered with resin and the 
spores of the canker fungus fall 
in these places, germinate, and 
spread into the surrounding 
tissue, and the tree is killed. 
On the other hand, the young, 
tender, rapidly growing tissues 
are more susceptible to the 
attacks of certain fungi than 
those older and better matured. 
With these introductory re- 
marks, we may now pass to 
some of the diseases in detail. 


In considering any case where 
fungi are found attacking the 
roots the importance of the 
previous effects of soil condi- 
tions must not be overlooked. 
An injury or a weakened con- 
dition produced by any of the 
, , , , „ , means already pointed out may 

Pig. 54.— Trunk of maple showing spread of fun- « r 

gous mycelium. permit the entrance and devel- 

opment of some disease-producing fungus which might not otherwise 
gain entrance or find suitable conditions for development. On the 
other hand, there are fungi which, while they are better able to develop 
under these conditions, are nevertheless able to gain entrance into and 
kill what appear to be perfectly healthy roots. 

Southern root rot. — This disease, which is produced by a fungus 
known as Ozonium auricomum, attacks a great variety of trees and 
other plants, including the elm, basswood, oak, cottonwood, mesquite, 
china tree, mulberry, etc. It also attacks cotton and the sweet po- 
tato — in fact, no plant appears to escape except the plum and some 
closely allied groups. 


The disease first becomes apparent by the sudden wilting of the 
leaves, and soon the death of the tree follows. Examination of the tap- 
root and many of the other roots shows them to be dead and partly 
rotten, and thus unable to furnish the top with water or food. Trees 
growing in well-drained and well-aerated soils are seldom attacked, 
while those in soils very retentive of moisture are the first to succumb. 
The disease is confined largely to the Southern and Southwestern States, 
and is especially bad in wet seasons and where excessive amounts of 
water are used in irrigation. If the roots are examined closely, a 
whitish or usually yellowish-brown growth of loosely interwoven, hair- 
like threads will be seen on the surface and in the decaying tissues. 
These are not confined to decaying parts, but attack apparently healthy 
roots. Once inside, the fungus spreads rapidly through the cortex 
and wood, killing the cells and causing their decay. Only the myce- 
lium, or plant body, is known, and this is reproduced from branches 
or pieces which may be broken or washed off. It has been observed 
growing in decaying vegetable material taken from the side of an 
irrigating ditch which furnished water for pears, cottonwood, alfalfa, 
and other plants dying from the disease. It is probable, therefore, 
that it may sometimes be distributed in this way. It spreads along 
roots and decaying material from plant to plant through the soil, and 
its distribution may also be hastened by tools used in cultivation. 

Treatment. — It is seldom that a plant once attacked can be saved, as 
the trouble is not apparent until the root system is nearly destroyed. 
If there is any reason to fear this disease, trees should not be set 
on recently cleared land until the roots of the original vegetation 
have rotted and the soil is cleared of sticks, limbs, etc. If the 
trouble appears, the diseased trees should be removed, with as much 
of the root system as possible, and the roots burned; or it is still 
better to cut the tree down, leaving a stump 1 or 2 feet high, and 
then remove the earth about the roots and allow them to dry out. 
When dry enough the stump should be burned in its original position. 
Most of the fungus will in this way be burned and that in the neigh- 
boring soil killed. Every precaution should be taken to keep the 
soil well drained, well aerated, and free from weeds. 

Honey mushroom (Agaricus melleus). — Another form of root rot 
is produced by the mycelium of the honey Agaric, or mushroom. 
The general appearance of the diseased plant is much the same as 
when attacked by the Southern root rot. Young trees may be killed 
within a year, but older ones show a weakened, stunted growth, and 
finally, after several years, dry up suddenly and die when a hot, 
dry spell comes on. Upon examination the bark at the base of the 
trunk and on the larger roots will be found to be dead. If a portion of it 
is removed, a white, leathery growth will be seen between the bark and 
the wood and between the different layers of bark. It may often 
be taken put in large sheets of varying thickness. The same will be 
found between the cortex and wood of the roots. On the outside of 


the roots and in the surrounding earth dark-brown strands, varying 
in thickness from one twenty-fifth to one-twelfth of an inch, will be 
found. These may in many cases be traced to the white mycelium 
between the bark and wood. It is simply the mycelium growing in 
a different form, as it is not subjected to pressure between the bark 
and wood. These Rhizomorphs, as they are called, spread a few 
inches under the surface of the ground from tree to tree, and thus 
large areas may become diseased from a single center. In the 
autumn, from the base of the diseased tree and from exposed roots 
and Rhizomorphs, the fruiting bodies of this fungus develop. They 
are yellowish-brown, and are from 3 to 8 inches high and 2 to 4 inches 
across the top. 

Treatment. — When once a tree is attacked by the fungus, there is 
no hope of saving it. If the tree is one of a group, it should be 
isolated by digging a ditch around it. The ditch should be dug deep 
and wide enough to get beyond the point where the brown strands of 
the fungus have reached. This precaution will be necessary only 
with the pines and allied trees, as others are not usually attacked 
unless first injured. 

Polyporus versicolor. — There is good evidence that this fungus, 
which is a very common one, may produce root rot in many trees. 
It is probable, however, that such trees have been previously weak- 
ened, thus giving the fungus an opportunity to get in. When it 
occurs on the side of a stump or root, it forms a thin, rigid, shell- 
shaped growth, extending out at right angles to the surface. Usually 
many grow together, more or less united to each other at the back. 
The individual shells vary in size from one-half inch to 2 inches or 
more in diameter. The concave surface is. always down and is made 
up of a layer of very small pores, in which the spores are produced. 
This porous surface is usually of a whitish-yellow color. The upper 
surface is shining, smooth, and velvety, marked with various dull- 
colored zones. (Fig. 55.) 

The mycelium forms a white, felt-like covering on the roots, pene- 
trating and causing the decay of the bark and wood. The first indi- 
cation of the disease is in the decreased production or stunted growth 
of the wood and a tendency to overproduction of fruit. Examination 
of the roots of such trees reveals the white felted fungous strands, 
which continue to increase in abundance until the roots are nearly all 
rotted off. It is usually several years from the time a tree is first 
attacked until its death. 

The mycelium spreads from tree to tree along decaying roots, so 
that in the course of years the trees over large areas are destroyed. 
Healthy, vigorous trees, in good soil, are much less liable to succumb 
than those growing under less favorable conditions. Trees planted 
in soil which has been recently cleared are most liable to attack, first, 
because the fungus is abundant in the decaying roots, and, second, 
for the reason that after a few years the nitrogen becomes greatly 
decreased, as explained elsewhere. The trees which have up to this 



time been highly fed and growing vigorously are checked by the 
decrease of soil food. If this is not a( once remedied by fertilization 

Fig. 55.— Root-rot fungus (Polyporus versicolor). 

and cultivation of the soil, the fungus may gain a foothold and the 
tree is doomed. 


Treatment. — In all cases the rapid changes in soil conditions which 
follow clearing should be guarded against by not planting until these 
changes have taken place and until the roots of the original vegetation 
have rotted and proper soil conditions have been established. If inju- 
ries occur on the larger roots or the base of the trunk, the places should 
be cleaned and coated with pitch or coal tar. Burning the stumps and 
roots of diseased trees where they stand is advisable if the condi- 
tions are favorable for the spread of the fungus. In the early stages 
of the disease the tree may often be saved and enabled to outgrow 
the trouble by removing the earth from the base of the trunk and 
larger roots, clearing them as thoroughly as possible of diseased tis- 
sue, and applying coal tar to the wounds. 


Red rot of oak {Polyporus sulphureus). — This disease is most 
common in oak, but it is also found in the chestnut, poplar, cherry, 

and willow. Hartig de- 
scribes it as parasitic 
also in locust, alder, wal- 
nut, and pear. As a 
parasite it gains en- 
trance to the body of 
the tree through some 
wound. The mycelium 
then spreads through 
the wood, causing it to 
dry, shrink, crack, and 
turn reddi sh brown . In 
the cracks the mycelium 
forms large sheets or 
felted masses, as in the 
case of the red rot of the 
fir and pine. The inside 
of a trunk may become 

Fig. 56.— Fungus causing red rot of oak. completely rotten in a 

few years from this cause. Whenever any wound permits the myce- 
lium of the fungus to come to the surface, a large group of fruits are 
produced, extending out from the tree like brackets. The under surface 
is made up of a layer of thin-walled pores, whitish at first, then sulphur- 
yellow. The top is a whitish-yellow. The brackets are irregular in 
shape and size and are usually all grown together in an inseparable 
mass, which is usually from 6 to 20 inches or more across and from 2 
to 4 inches thick. (Fig. 50.) 

Treatment. — As the fungus can not gain entrance except through a 
wound, it may be readily guarded against by properly caring for 
wounds, as suggested in other parts of this article. 

White rot of oak.— This disease is produced by Polyporus igndctr 
rius, a common fungus, which sometimes attacks the oak, hickory, 



willow, and other trees. The mycelium of the fungusgrows through the 
wood, reducing it to a yellowish-white, spongy condition. The Poly- 
porus Itself develops on the surface of the bark or wood. It is at first 
spherical in shape, bill later assumes the form of a hoof, with the flat 
side turned down. 

Treatment.— The fungus seldom, if ever, attacks sound tissues, 
hence the propel care of wounds is all that is required to preserve 
trees from its attacks. 

There are numerous other fungi closely related to those described 
which may produce various kinds of rots in growing trees. Nearly 
all these gain entrance through cuts and wounds, hence the neces- 
sity of properly caring for these, especially during summer, wheu 
parasitic enemies of all kinds are active. 


The fungi described under the previous heads have for the most 
part prominent fruit forms. There is another group much less con- 
spicuous, but which sometimes 
causes considerable injury. 
This group — the so-called black 
fungi ( I'yrenomycetes) — usually 
appear as dark-colored pustules 
on the bark of the stems and 
branches. The injuries in most 
eases are local, but in many in- 
stances a stem or branch may be 
completely gird led, and of course 
serious results will then follow. 
One of the common members of 

the group is Neebria cirmabariTia 

(lig. 57). It occurs on nearly all 
kinds of deciduous trees, attack- 
ing dead and wounded branches 

anil occasionally wounded roots. 

The fungus can not kill tin; 
living cambium and cortex, but grows rapidly through the wood, 
causing it to turn black and die, while the cambium and cortex are 
still sound. The wood in this condition, however, is unable to con- 
duct water, so that the parts dependent on it dry up and die. 

Another species, Ni ctria <////W/m/,withbrightredfriiit bag warts, also 
at tacksa great variety of deciduoiisplants. It spreads very slowly, how- 
ever (not more than 1 or l> inches in ayear). The invaded tissue rots, but 
t he sn rround i ng healthy parts increase in growth, so that the part of the 
branch around the wound may become greatly distorted and swollen, 
producing what is ordinarily known as a canker spot. Ni r/ria ciieur- 
hiliila causes a similar canker disease of conifers, especially the spruce. 

Nations other canker-producing fungi attack trees, but it is not 
necessary to enter into detailed descriptions of them here. 

I'*lii. 67. Xtitria rinmthinhttt 


Another class of fungi, belonging to the group of rusts, frequently 
cause considerable injury to trees, especially conifers. The Peri- 
dermiums are probably the most destructive of these parasites, 
attacking stems, branches, and leaves, and causing various knots, 
swellings, and blister-like patches. 

Treatment. — Prom the nature of the fungi just considered, it will be 
seen that about the only means of checking them is to cut out and 
destroy the diseased parts as soon as possible. In many cases the 
injuries to trunks and branches are of such a nature that the diseased 
parts can be removed without trouble. This should be done, and all 
wounds thus made should be carefully covered with tar or grafting wax. 


In common with other plants, the leaves of shade and ornamental 
trees are subject to the attacks of many forms of fungi. Some of 
these produce local injuries, while others so affect the leaves as to 
cause them to fall prematurely. In all cases where the leaves are 
affected it will be seen that the more they are injured the more serious 
the results to the tree as a whole, for the leaves are the laboratories 
in which the food is prepared, and any check or injury to them 
results in a check to the growth of the tree. Probably the most com- 
mon fungous parasites of the foliage of trees are those producing 
various kinds of spot diseases. Maples, chestnuts, oaks, basswoods, 
sycamores, poplars, and various other trees are more or less subject 
to the maladies in question. These spots are produced by certain 
species of fungi, which attack the tissues, and by their action first 
weaken and then destroy them. The spots vary in color, size, and 
shape, and can usually be distinguished from those brought on by 
sun scald and similar agencies only by microscopic studies. 

Of the other diseases of the foliage, the powdery mildews and rusts 
are probably the most common. The former attack many trees and 
shrubs, producing a whitish, spider-web-like growth on the surface. 
A common example of this group of fungi is found in the mildew 
which occurs in late summer on the lilac. Maple leaves are also fre- 
quently attacked, and the same is true of the chestnut, willow, and 
other trees. The rusts are limited to a comparatively few groups of 
trees, among which may be mentioned the pines, poplars, and willows. 

Treatment. — There is comparatively little that can be done toward 
checking these diseases. Spraying in many cases is not practicable 
on account of the size of the trees, and even if it were, it is questionable 
whether the injury resulting from the parasites is sufficient, except 
in some few cases, to pay for the trouble involved. As many of the 
fungi pass the winter either in or on the old leaves, burning these in 
the autumn may help materially in keeping the parasites in check. 
Careful attention to the needs of the trees in the matter of food and 
water will also go far toward freeing them from the attacks of such 
enemies as have been described. 


By E. A. de Schweinitz, Ph. D., M. D., 
Chief of Biochemic Division, Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of 



As the health of man is so largely dependent on the health of ani- 
mals, and the spread of nearly all diseases among men and animals is 
susceptible of control if proper methods of combatting the contagion 
are followed, it is a matter of considerable importance to understand 
where the dangers of infection lie and what are the best methods of 
destroying their cause. This process we call disinfection. 

The primary cause of all diseases being recognized to be a bacte- 
rium, or sometimes a parasite, the source of infection may be removed 
by destroying the parasites or germs. Bacteria, in multiplying either 
inside or outside the animal body, often form compounds, frequently 
gases, that are exceedingly disagreeable, so that these dangerous ene- 
mies are often easily recognized. Different substances may be used 
to counteract these disagreeable odors, and it is sometimes thought 
that by destroying the noxious odors all danger has been removed. 
This, however, is not the case, as many substances will act as deodori- 
zers which are not germ destroyers. Again, we have other substances 
which will retard the action of germs and prevent their multiplica- 
tion, but will not kill them, while a true disinfectant destroys the 
germs, counteracts and destroys the disagreeable odors resulting from 
decomposition, and hence prevents danger of further spread of disease. 
It is to this latter class of substances, especially modern disinfectants, 
that attention will be called in this article, and the comparative merits 
of some of them, as developed by their use, will be pointed out. 



The best disinfectants, where they can be applied, are steam and 
boiling water. There are some practical objections to them, however, 
on account of the difficulty of always obtaining them in a convenient 
place, and the injury to the walls of a room, articles of furniture, 
bedding, clothing, etc., resulting from their use. Hence, disinfect- 
ants which are more conveniently applied and do not injure materials 
with which they are brought into contact are preferable. 



Though many new disinfectants have been recommended in its 
place, carbolic acid, so long known, has retained its position as one 
of the best disinfectants in surgical work, as well as for general pur- 
poses, when there are no practical objections to its use. In solutions 
varying from one-half of 1 per cent to 5 per cent in strength, it is a 
valuable destroyer of all disease germs. For disinfecting stables, 
barns, outhouses, faeces, expectorations, etc., a 5 per cent solution 
should be used. Its odor and poisonous properties are sometimes 
objectionable. Kiippe and Laplace found that crude carbolic acid 
when treated with sulphuric acid gave a product the disinfectant 
properties of which were increased with an admixture of cold water, 
but diminished in warm water. If this mixture is to be used, it should 
be prepared by stirring the sulphuric acid slowly into the carbolic 
acid with a wooden paddle in a wooden or iron receptacle. Frankel 
found that when crude carbolic acid was distilled it yielded a product 
boiling between 185° and 205°, which in a 5 per cent solution killed 
anthrax spores (among the most difficult to destroy) in twenty-four 
hours. Treated with sulphuric acid, the cold solutions again showed 
stronger disinfecting properties than the warm, which was supposed to 
be due to the fact that the sulpho-acids formed had weaker properties 
as disinfectants. 


Subsequently, others succeeded in dissolving cresols, crude car- 
bolic acid, etc., in various soap solutions which could be substituted 
for the more expensive pure carbolic acid. A number of such prod- 
ucts as creolin, lysol, cresolin, cresin, etc., were offered as substitutes 
for carbolic acid, all being solutions in resin soap of the cresols and 
similar hydrocai'bons. These preparations behaved differently when 
dissolved in water. Some gave clear solutions, others milky solutions, 
due to a partial decomposition of the compounds. An effort was then 
made to discover a substance which would dissolve these materials 
more readily and always give a clear solution. It was found that sali- 
cylate of sodium or some of its derivatives formed suitable menstrua, 
and the name solveol was given to a number of such preparations. 

Many articles have been written upon the action of these materials 
of various origin, showing that all had about the same value. A pure 
preparation of the cresols, a mixture of ortho, meta, and para cresol, 
was also put on the market under the name tricresol. It was found 
that this tricresol was about as soluble in water as carbolic acid, had 
three times its efficiency, and only one-third its poisonous properties. 

One of the preparations mentioned above, viz, creolin, is composed 
very largely of hydrocarbons, which are with difficulty soluble; it 
yields on the addition of water an emulsion. Sirena and Misuraca 
treated tuberculous material, such as sputum, with a 3 per cent to 5 


per cent solution of this substance one to two days and could notice 
no destruction of the germs. Tried upon anthrax bacilli and spores, 
its antiseptic properties were not marked. 

A great many results where lysol has been used have been reported. 
Gerlaeh, who studied the subject thoroughly, concluded that lysol is 
more active than carbolic acid and creolin, and that disinfection of 
the hands is possible with a 1 per cent lysol solution ; it is said to be 
more serviceable than any other agent in disinfecting sputa and fseces. 
A 3 per cent solution, nsed as a spray upon the walls, will make them 
germ free, and as compared with carbolic acid, sublimate, and creolin 
it is much less poisonous. 

Of the many other disinfectants (a large number of which are 
derivatives of those already referred to), the majority, as aseptol, 
europhen, and the like, are more especially intended for medical and 
surgical use, and are either too expensive or for some other reason, 
such as difficulty of solubility, not adapted to household use or for 
purposes of general disinfection. 


For many reasons, the best results in disinfecting rooms or build- 
ings can be secured by means of a gaseous disinfectant which will 
readily penetrate to all parts of a building and impregnate articles, 
such as upholstery, bedding, and the like, without injuring them. 
Sulphur dioxide was for a long time the least injurious gaseous disin- 
fectant known, but within a few years formaldehyde gas, or its 
solution in water, has begun to replace the other gaseous disinfect- 
ants. Though irritating to the mucous membrane, it is not nearly 
so disagreeable as sulphur dioxide; it is not as poisonous, nor is it 
injurious to metals, wood, or fabrics. 

In order that a disinfectant shall be thoroughly satisfactory, certain 
conditions must be fulfilled. In the first place, it should destroy 
surely and quickly the most resistant forms and spores of injurious 
bacteria. It must be a substance that can be easily used, and be 
nontoxic and nondestructive to mineral or vegetable matters in the 
concentration necessary to insure complete disinfection. Further, 
it should be a substance which can be applied in a gaseous condi- 
tion, to secure thorough contact and penetration of the objects to be 
disinfected. Again, it must be a substance which is stable in char- 
acter, not easily decomposed, cheap, if possible possessing an odor 
which dissipates quickly, and a good deodorizer. To a certain degree 
formaldehyde possesses all these properties, and its practical use has 
been the subject of a number of investigations. Commercially, we 
find formaldehyde in the market as a 40 per cent solution of the gas in 
water or wood alcohol under the trade names of formalin and formol. 
The formaldehyde gas and its solutions can be prepared with great 
12 A96 17 


ease by the partial oxidation of wood alcohol. As early as 1888 the 
strong antiseptic properties of formaldehyde were recognized by Low, 
and in 1892 Trillat published the statement that a bouillon contain- 
ing 1: 50,000 of formaldehyde was not suitable for the growth of the 
anthrax germ. Aronson, after making similar experiments, tried the 
poisonous properties of the gas upon guinea pigs, and found that they 
could lire for an hour in an atmosphere rich in formaldehyde gas. 
During this experiment the animals were very restless, but recovered 
very quickly in normal air. Zuntz had already shown that the poi- 
sonous dose for rabbits after a subcutaneous injection was about 0.24 
gram per kilo. 

In 1893 formaldehyde was recommended for the disinfection of 
brushes and combs, as well as for use to destroy the germs of diph- 
theria, tuberculosis, cholera, and the like on such materials as would 
be injured by other disinfectants. 

Another .authority asserted in 1893 that after one hour in solution 
of 1:10,000 and after fifteen minutes in 1:750 anthrax and tetanus 
germs were destroyed. The results further showed that in the air 2.5 
per cent by A r oluine of formalin, or 1 per cent by volume of formalde- 
hyde gas, was sufficient to destroy fresh virulent cultures of typhoid, 
cholera, anthrax, etc., in fifteen minutes. Other experiments have 
shown that bandages and iodoform gauze can be kept well sterilized 
by placing in the jars containing them some formaliths, a solid prep- 
aration containing formaldehyde, and it was also possible for Stahl 
to make carpets and cloth materials germ free by spraying them with 
0.5 to 2 per eent formalin solution for fifteen to thirty minutes with- 
out the color of the carpet being in any way affected. The researches 
of Pottevin in 1894 confirmed those of Aronson and Trillat that a 
concentration of 1 : 20,000 was safely a retardent of sufficient strength. 

In 1894 the deodorizing property of formaldehyde was explained to 
consist in a direct chemical combination of formaldehyde and sul- 
phureted hydrogen, or with ammonium compounds and their deriva- 
tives present in faeces, decomposing animal matter, and the like. With 
scatol, one of the odorous constituents of the faeces, formaldehyde 
combines upon the addition of acid to an odorless compound. 

As Walters has shown, so far as the action of formaldehyde in 
gaseous form is concerned, that is dependent upon the concentration 
of the gas, the temperature, and whether the articles to be disinfected 
are moist or dry. The killing of the germs appears to be better 
accomplished when the objects are very slightly moist (not wet), and 
the temperature is 35°. This is a property which has long been well 
known as belonging to sulphur dioxide, chlorine, and bromine. 

Of the practical methods of applying formaldehyde, those in which 
the gas is allowed to work in statu nascendi have given the best 
results. Several forms of lamps have been devised in which the for- 
maldehyde is obtained by the imperfect combustion of methyl alcohol. 



These have the advantage that the lamp can be filled and placed in 
the room or other closed place which it is desired to disinfect. They 
have the disadvantage, however, that some of the alcohol suffers 
complete combustion, that a certain amount of carbon monoxide and 
dioxide are also obtained, and that a little alcohol is lost and conse- 
quently a larger amount of alcohol is used than should be necessary. 
Practical experiments made by Miguel, Bardet, Trillat, and others in 
disinfecting rooms by means of these lamps have given very satisfac- 
tory results. The principle of the lamp is to allow the flame to burn 
over a wire mantle of platinum or a platinized asbestus wick. 

Two simple lamps for this purpose may be described here, the one 
designed by Professor Robinson, of Bowdoin College, the other by the 
writer. The latter can be readily understood from 
the accompanying illustration (fig. 58), the point 
being the use of a wick in whole or in part of plat- 
inized asbestus. The lamp is filled with alcohol, 
and the wick turned up slightly and lighted in the 
ordinary way. After a minute the asbestus portion 
of the wick becomes heated to such a temperature 
that the platinum distributed over the surface will 
continue to glow and convert alcohol into aldehyde 
as long as the lamp remains filled. Professor Rob- 
inson's lamp is described by himself as follows: 

I take a disk of moderately thick asbestus board and have 
it perforated with small holes close together. This is then 
platinized in the usual way, using quite a strong solution 
of platinic chloride. If now a shallow dish, cylindrically 
formed and of such size that the perforated asbestus disk 
will just cover its top, be partly filled with methyl alcohol, 
it serves as the lamp font. If the platinized disk be wet 
with alcohol, seized in a pair of forceps or small tongs, re- 
moved from the dish, and the alcohol lighted, it will, by the 
time its alcohol burns away, be heated sufficiently so that 
when placed over the lamp font again it will continue hot and change the alco- 
hol to aldehyde. Experience shows that with proper depth of dish and suitable 
holes for admission of air, the disk keeps of a proper redness to bring about the 
change most efficiently. The gas may also be applied by warming its solutions and 
better exhausting the air in a closed vessel containing formalin. If this solution is 
heated, some of the formaldehyde is polymerized and converted into an inactive 

The use of formaldehyde for the purpose of destroying the spores 
of smut by the action of 1: 10,000 formalin solution has been recom- 
mended. In all experiments in using this material, attention must 
be paid to the fact whether reference is made to the formalin solution 
or to formaldehyde gas. It is probable that with a convenient method 
of generating the gas this might be used to advantage in destroying 
insects injurious to vegetation. 

Walter has carried out a series of experiments with formalin and 
also with the gas which can be obtained from it. His experiments 

Fig. 58.— Wick for for- 
maldehyde lamp. 


■were made first by preparing different kinds of culture media to which 
formalin had been added in different proportions. The results of these 
tests upon anthrax spores, cholera, typhus, and diphtheria germs 
showed that the proportion of 1:10,000 or 1:20,000 of formalin, or 
1: 25,000 of formaldehyde gas, is sufficient to check the growth of the 
germs. When the gas is used, the Staphylococcus pyogenes aureus 
seems to be the most resistant, while, strange as it may appear, the 
spores of anthrax, so difficult to kill by most germicides, are very 
easily destroyed by formalin. This is one of the principles laid down 
by Koch that some substances would be found which were destructive 
to pathogenic bacteria, but were less injurious to ordinary germs. 

In order to prove the A^alue of formalin on a large scale for the dis- 
infection of clothing, Walter used a soldier's blue mixed with red 
color, which he immersed in a culture of the pure germ, so that the 
cloth was thoroughly saturated. Strips were then cut off, placed under 
a bell jar, and sprayed with formalin solution varying in strength 
from 3 per cent to 10 per cent. The strips were left in the bell jar six 
hours. After that time tests were made by cultures from these strips, 
check strips being used at the same time. There was no change pro- 
duced in the color of the cloth, and the red was, if anything, a little 
brighter. The germs which had penetrated deeply into the cloth were 
all killed, just as wei'e those upon the surface. This can be explained 
probably by the fact that the articles being surrounded with the jar 
the gas was forced deeply into the interstices of the cloth and killed 
those germs which could not be reached by the solution. The 3 per 
cent solution gave just as satisfactory results as the stronger solutions. 

The preliminary experiments that Walter made with the gas to 
prove the availability of formaldehyde for the disinfection of clothing, 
etc., without injury to the latter were satisfactory except with refer- 
ence to the length of time required. This, however, was due to the 
practical details of the method, as the source of the formaldehyde was 
either the powder placed under a bell jar or a lamp used in a room 
which was poorly adapted to the purpose, there being too many open- 
ings for the escape of the gas. 


The results of all investigations have led to the following conclu- 

1. Formalin in concentration, 1 : 10,000, makes the growth of tuber- 
culosis, anthrax, cholera, typhus, pus, and diphtheria germs impossible. 

2. In gaseous form a weak dilution is sufficient to check growth. 

3. A 1 per cent solution will kill pathogenic organisms in an hour. 

4. With a 3 per cent solution and the final addition of alcohol it is 
possible to make the hands germ free. Whether the skin of the hands 
is attacked by this method remains to be proved. 


5. Spraying with formalin solution and subsequent inclosure of the 
articles in a closed space 'will easily sterilize them. 

6. Uniforms, etc., can be disinfected on a large scale without 
injury, twenty-four hours being required. 

7. Faeces are deodorized by a 1 per cent solution, and are in thirteen 
minutes germ free ; and buildings can be readily disinfected by a 
1 per cent to 1. 5 per cent volume of the gas. 

8. Formaldehyde is a useful etching material and preservative. 
As compared with other disinfectants, such as corrosive sublimate, 

carbolic acid, lysol, etc., formaldehyde and its solutions have the 
advantage of not being retarded in their action by albuminoid mat- 
ter and of not injuring the articles to which they are applied. Their 
use therefore seems to be well recommended and to fill many require- 
ments which are not now fully met by other disinfectants. Especially 
is this the case in disinfecting rooms, clothing, bedding, railroad 
cars, etc. 

Experiments made by Roux, Trillat, and others upon the use of 
formaldehyde vapor for disinfecting rooms have been very satis- 
factory, in that the bacilli of anthrax, tuberculosis, and diphtheria 
have been killed within five hours by a saturated atmosphere of formal- 
dehyde gas. After two days of thorough ventilation no odor remained 
in the room, nor were the objects which had been exposed to the 
action of the gas in any way injured. An objection to the use of 
formaldehyde has been raised because it adheres somewhat tena- 
ciously to clothing and upholstered materials and the pdor dissipates 
slowly. This, however, can be removed by thorough ventilation or 
by the use of a dilute solution of ammonia, which readily absorbs the 
gas. Placed in a room where formaldehyde has been used as a disin- 
fectant, this would aid in a more rapid dissipation of the odor and 
not injure the materials. It would seem that in formaldehyde we 
have at hand the most useful disinfectant yet known, the application 
of which is a mere detail to be easily worked out in practice. 

It also appears to be useful as a means of preserving food, milk, etc. 
Its effect upon the digestive ferments has not been thoroughly studied, 
but the quantity used for preserving milk, 1 part to 10,000, should be 
too small to give rise to any bad result, and none has been noted in 
practical use. Its influence in this connection should be carefully 
studied before it is generally recommended. 

While testing the action of this gas upon the cattle tick recently, 
its action upon the respiratory organs of cattle was noted. A calf 
was kept for five hours in an atmosphere containing about 2 per cent 
of formaldehyde gas. During this time there was a slight watering 
from the eyes and it coughed occasionally, but it did not seem to be in 
any special distress, and as soon as it was brought into the fresh air 
again it was all right and showed no bad after effects. This fact may 
prove of importance in disinfecting stables and the like. 


Another direction in which formaldehyde promises to be of practical 
importance is in the disinfection of imported hides, which may carry 
contagion, especially anthrax. The rapid action and penetrating 
power of this gas bids fair to overcome the practical difficulties hith- 
erto attending the use of disinfectants for this purpose. 

In regard to the use of formaldehyde, it is of importance to know 
the percentage of gas which will be necessary to disinfect a room of 
given size and what percentage should be used in any given disease. 
If the alcohol used is entirely converted into aldehyde by the lamps, 
as indicated, 1 liter of pure wood alcohol will give 748 grams of alde- 
hyde = 361 liters of this gas. The capacity of a room of 1,000 cubic 
feet is 28,684 liters, so the above quantity of alcohol would give 1.26 
per cent aldehyde in a room of this size. 

Experiments have shown that very much less than 1 per cent by 
volume of this is destructive to injurious bacteria, but an atmosphere 
containing 1 to 1.5 per cent by volume will give satisfactory results in 
six to thirteen hours in all cases. When the volume of the gas is 
increased, the length of time necessary for the disinfection is con- 
siderably decreased. 

Of the mineral salts recommended as disinfectants in the solid form, 
many are deodorizers and not true disinfectants. Others, like cor- 
rosive sublimate, are too poisonous, or can not be used with good 
effect in presence of albuminoid matter. One should always remember 
the difference between destroying the cause of infection, the only 
safeguard, and simply removing disagreeable odors. 

Boiling water and steam are excellent disinfectants when they can 
be applied, but best of all for general disinfection are formaldehyde 
gas and its solutions. 

It should be noted that a 40 per cent solution of formaldehyde gas 
can be purchased for one-fourth the price paid for formalin, which is 
exactly the same thing. 


By Lyster H. Dewey, 
Assistant in Division of Botany, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


A large proportion of the plants growing along roadsides, on waste 
ground, and in plowed fields in the older cultivated parts of this 
country are migratory weeds. They were not native where they are 
now found, but have appeared since the introduction of cultivation. 
They have come from other countries, or from other places in this 
country, and their offspring, in 
turn, is likely to be disseminated 
still further. A migratory weed is a 
plant which is continually spread- 
ing to new areas, and which there 
increases to such an extent as to 
be injurious. 

The methods of weed migration 
fall into two classes, the natural, 
in which the dissemination is un- 
aided by man, and the artificial, 
including the many ways in which 
the distribution is somehow fur- 
thered by human agency. 



Natural methods are all those 
in which the dispersion is accom- 
plished through the powers of the 
plant itself cooperating with its 
environment exclusive of human 
agency. Natural methods in turn 
subdivide into two classes according as the dispersion is not or is aided 
by some external locomotive agent, as wind or water. 


Among the methods of the first class is spreading by runners, that 
is, by slender radiating branches, producing plantlets at the nodes, 
which take root in the ground. Cinquefoil (PotentUla canadensis) is 
a typical example of this class, with runners extending 10 to 30 inches 


Pig. 50. — Orange hawkweed: a, runners; 6, 
akene, or " seed "—natural size and enlarged. 


from the parent plant. Bermuda grass (Capriola dactylon), north of 
the Gulf States, spreads almost exclusively by runners, as it rarely 
produces seeds in cooler latitudes. Its runners often grow 8 or 10 feet 
in a single season, enabling it quickly to cover with a beautiful green 
either the front lawn or the vegetable garden. Orange hawkweed 
(Hieracium aurantiacum) (fig. 59) produces numerous runners 6 to 15 
inches long. Though comparatively short, they enable the plant to 
multiply and form dense patches to the exclusion of other vegetation. 


A common independent method of spreading is by underground 

stems, called rootstocks, or rhi- 
zomes. These run along below the 
reach of the mowing machine or of 
grazing animals, and often too deep 
to be disturbed by surface cultiva- 
tion. They produce buds at their 
numerous scaly nodes, and these 
buds develop into new plants in ex- 
actly the same manner as branches 
are produced above ground. St. 
John's wort, sorrel, ramsted, per- 
ennial ragweed, and eagle fern all 
have rootstocks from 10 to 50 inches 
long, enabling them to spread short 
distances. Among the most nota- 
ble examples of rootstocks are those 
of couch grass (Agropyron repens) 
(fig. 60) and Johnson grass (Sor- 
glium halepense), which often grow 
to a length of 10 to 15 feet in one 
season, furnishing these grasses 
with a means of rapid distribution 
and propagation, a character mak- 
ing them at once most valuable 
in the pasture and meadow and most pernicious in cultivated fields. 

Fig. 60.— Couch grass, showing rootstocks. 


Some of the weeds which are most difficult to eradicate aro prop- 
agated from running roots. Such are Canada thistle (Carduus 
arvensis) (fig. CI), horse nettle (Solarium carolinense), milkweed 
(Asclepias syriaca), and showy spurge (Euphorbia corollala). These 
roots often branch and form a complete network extending horizon- 
tally at a depth of 6 to 30 inches below the surface of the ground. 
They have no nodes, scales, or apparent buds. The absence of these 



organs distinguishes them from rootstocks, or rhizomes. They are 
capable of producing shoots at almost any point. Prof. A. N. Prentiss, 
of Cornell University, demonstrated by experiment that a Canada 
thistle root cut into pieces one-fourth of an inch long can produce 
shoots from nearly every piece. Pulling up plants which spring from 
running roots rarely injures the root system. The plant pulled up 
usually breaks off at the point where it is attached to the horizontal 
root, leaving the latter undisturbed. The horizontal root system is 
often below the reach of the plow, and while the farmer is industri- 
ously mowing, pulling, and cultivating to destroy the plants which 
appear above ground the root system remains uninjured except for 
the loss of nourishment, and con- 
tinues to send up new shoots which 
will grow as soon as the cultiva- 
tion is relaxed. In fact, the only 
practicable methods of killing 
roots of this class are to starve or 
exhaust them by preventing the 
growth of any shoots above ground 
during several successive 3 7 ears 
and to poison them with kerosene, 
brine, or acids, or other chemicals. 


One of the most interesting yet 
least known methods by which 
plants travel short distances is by 
throwing their seeds. When the 
pods of the common tare (Vicia 
sativa) (fig. 62, a) are mature, they 
dry in such a manner as to produce 
a strong oblique tension on the two 
valves or sides of the pod. The 
valves finally split apart and curl 
spirally with such a sudden move- 
ment as to throw the "peas" sev- 
eral feet. In many of the species of spurge {Euphorbia) the seeds 
are tightly pressed by the sides of the ripening capsule, and they are 
finally expelled with considerable force in much the same manner as 
a lemon seed is thrown by pressing it between the thumb and finger. 
The seeds of wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta) are packed in rows in the 
small, erect, green pods (fig. 62, 6). Each seed is surrounded by a 
very elastic transparent covering, and as it ripens and forces its way 
out through the opening at the side of the pod this covering splits 
down one side and turns inside out with a force that is often sufficient 
to throw the seed several feet (fig. 62, d, e). The small-flowered 
geranium ( Geranium pusittum) has each one of its five seeds fastened 

Fio. 61.— Canada thistle: a, running root; 6, 
akene, or " seed; " c, akene enlarged, showing 
ho-* the pappus, or "thistle-down," is de- 


to a separate section of the flower style. When the seed ripens, these 
sections of the style become dry and develop into strong springs, 
■which break away at the bottom and by curving upward throw the 
seeds (fig. 62, /, g). 

While by this class of methods plants are able to travel only com- 
paratively short distances, they are, on the other hand, enabled 
completely to cover infested areas, and when once established are 
not easily removed. 

In the second class of natural methods of dissemination the plant 
avails itself in some way of natural locomotive agencies external to 
itself. There are three such agencies which aid very much in the 
migration of weeds. These are wind, water, and animals, the most 
important being the wind. 


Many weed seeds have special adaptations, enabling them to be 
carried through the air by the wind, Pandelion {Taraxacum tarax- 

Fig. 62.— Seed-throwing by plants: a, pod of common tare; b, pods of wood sorrel; c, transverse 
section of pod enlarged; d, outer seed-coat turned inside out; e, seed thrown from the outer 
coat; /, mature fruit of small-flowered geranium; g, same enlarged. 

acum) (fig. 63, a, b), prickly lettuce (Lactuca scariola), Canada thistle 
(Carduus arvensis) (fig. 61, b, c), horse weed (Erigeron canadensis), 
and many other seeds, or akenes, of the composite family have a feath- 
ery down, or pappus. The seeds of milkweed (Asclepias) (fig. 63, c), 
dogbane (Apocynum), and willow herb (Epilobium) are each provided 
with a tuft of hairs or coma. Penny cress (Tlilaspi arvense) (fig. 63, d) 
has a winged pod inclosing the seeds, and drop-seed dock (Rumex 
Jiastatulus) a winged calyx. Broom sedge {Andropogon virginicus) 
(fig. 63, e, /, g) has hairs upon the flower stems and upon the glumes 
surrounding the seeds. These examples illustrate the principal adap- 
tations by which the seeds of weeds in this country are borne upon 
the wind. The winged seeds of the rock cress, the keyed fruits of the 



maple and elm, and the downy fruits of the willows and poplars are 
examples of special adaptations for distribution by the wind, but 
these plants are not classed among our troublesome weeds. 

The distance which this class of seeds may be carried by the wind 
may easily be exaggerated, being ordinarily not more than 2 or 3 
miles, or in hurricanes perhaps 10 or 15. There are no well authen- 
ticated accounts of seeds traveling long distances in this manner. 
The seeds of dandelion, Canada thistle, and milkweed are. all very 
easily detached from their downy parachutes, and when the latter are 
seen floating about on light breezes one may be reasonably certain 
that their seeds are already gone. 

The proportion of our really troublesome weeds of which the seeds 
have adaptations for flight is small, being less than 10 per cent. Of 
the weeds which have spread with remarkable rapidity during the 
past ten years, only the prickly lettuce and the orange hawkweed dif- 

FlG. 63.— Seeds carried by the wind: a, dandelion, akene -with stalked pappus; b, same enlarged, 
stalk broken; c, milkweed seed with coma; d, winged pod of penny cress; e, panicle of broom 
sedge; /, spikelets detached; g, spikelet enlarged. 

fuse their seeds in this way. It is further true that few of the annual 
species of this class, which have no means of propagation but their 
seed, take exclusive possession of the ground, as do the annual rag- 
weeds, dog fennel, and marsh elder, the seeds of which fall near the 
parent plant. On the other hand, none of the pappus-bearing weeds 
are more thoroughly distributed over large areas than are button- 
weed, pigeon grass, crab grass, and other weeds, which appear to have 
no special means of distribution. 


A partial explanation of the distribution of many of our most com- 
mon weeds lies in the fact that their seeds are blown over the frozen 
ground or over the snow. Of this class are ragweed (Ambrosia artemv- 
siazfolia), giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), buttonweed (Diodia teres), 


and barnyard grass (Panicum crus-galli). Their seeds are produced 
late in the season, and some of them are held with such tenacity that 
they are dislodged only by the strongest winds when the conditions 
are favorable for their being carried some distance, the ground being 
frozen or covered with snow. This method of seed dispersion accounts 
in part for the roadside distribution of ragweed, mayweed, and similar 
plants which grow between the wagon tracks and the grass along 
Northern highways. This weed border is less clearly marked in the 
South, where there is less snow and less frozen ground to offer a smooth 
pathway for the drifting seed. It also accounts in part for the fact 
that weeds are distributed much more rapidly over fields left bare 
during the winter than over those which are covered with some crop 
which will catch the rolling seeds. In experiments conducted by 
Prof. H. L. Bolley, Agricultural College, Fargo, N. Dak., wheat grains 
drifted over snow on a level field '30 rods in one minute with a wind 

Fig. 61.— Winged pigweed, a typical tumbleweed in form: a, small branch with leaves and 

flowers— natural size. 

blowing 25 miles an hour. Lighter or angular grains were found to 
drift more rapidly. Numerous seeds of barnyard grass, pigeon grass, 
penny cress, and ragweed were found in drifted snow taken from a 
frozen pond and from a plowed field, in each case several rods distant 
from standing weeds. 1 


The distribution of weed seeds by the plants rolling as tumbleweeds 
has been particularly brought to notice during the past few years by 
the Russian thistle {Salsola kali tragus), which has furnished a nota- 
ble illustration of the effectiveness of this method. Tumbleweeds 
are most numerous and are best developed in the prairie region, where 
there is little to impede their progress and where there are strong 
winds to drive them onward. An ideal tumbleweed should be 10 
inches or more in diameter, spherical or circular so as to roll well, 

'Bulletin No. 17, Experiment Station, Fargo, N. Dak. 



thickly branched so as to catch the wind, light, yet strong enough to 
hold together, supplied with abundant seeds clinging to the plant 
with considerable tenacity so as to drop gradually as the plant trav- 
els along, and fitted with some adaptation enabling it to break loose 
from the ground. One of the best examples of tumbleweed is the 
winged pigweed (Cycloloma atriplicifolia) (fig. 64). In addition to 
this the following are among the best developed tumbleweeds on the 
prairies west of the Mississippi River: Tumbleweed (Amaranthus 
albus), low amaranth (AmarantJius blitoides), bug seed (Oorispermum 
hyssopifolium), and buffalo bur (Solanum rostralum). These are all 
annual plants and all native, as 
are nearly all our tumbleweeds. 
Two notable exceptions are Rus- 
sian thistle and tumbling mustard 
{Sisymbrium attissimum), which 
have been introduced recently from 
Europe. But tumbleweeds also 
abound in the Eastern States, 
though here they are smaller and 
less aggressive, and hence attract 
less attention. They can readily 
be found by examining open 
ditches, gullies, or fence corners at 
any time from midsummer to late 
in the winter. These will usually 
be found filled with dried bushy 
weeds which have not grown there. 
Prominent among these weeds 
early in the season is hair grass 
(Agrostis scabra) ; later we find old 
witch grass (Panicum capillare) 
(fig. 65), and meadow comb grass 
(Eragrostis pectinacea). After 
the ground is frozen in the fall the 
number of species which roll as tumbleweeds increases and many 
coarser plants are included. 

The manner of breaking loose is a most important character in tum- 
bleweeds. Most of the tumbling grasses have large spreading pani- 
cles which usually become detached by the stalk pulling out of the 
upper sheath ; but in the case of Schedonnardus texanus the ball is 
formed of several plants with curved stems matted together. The 
coarser tumbleweeds are set free in various ways. Some of those in 
sandy lands have a rather small root, which is pulled out by the force 
of the wind. Some are twisted and broken off by the wind after the 
ground is frozen. Some are attacked by fungi at the base of the main 
stem, which weakens them so that they break off readily at maturity. 

Fig. 65.— Old witch grass: a, paniclo detached. 


Others are eaten off by insects, and still ethers are so highly devel- 
oped in this respect that they form a kind of node and callus, and 
break off at maturity in practically the same manner as a mature leaf 
breaks from a tree in the fall. 

Efforts have been made to check the progress of tumbleweeds, or at 
least of the Russian thistle, by building fences. These efforts have 
been successful only in a very small degree, as the weeds pile up and 
are blown over the tops of the fences, and also the detached seeds are 
blown through. It will doubtless be found in practice quite as diffi- 
cult to check the progress of tumbleweeds as to check the dispersion 
of seeds by aerial flight or by drifting over the snow or bare ground. 
In any case the only safe and thoroughly effective method is to destroy 
the weeds before the seeds reach maturity. 


Water, next to wind, is the most important natural agent in the dis- 
tribution of weed seeds. Every dashing rain carries innumerable 
seeds in the muddy little hillside rivulets it creates. Some of these 
seeds are likely to be carried on through larger and larger streams 
until they reach a river. The chances of finding a lodgment suitable 
for germination and growth are exceedingly small for seeds of high- 
land weeds floating on river currents, but that many of them do ger- 
minate and grow wo have abundant evidence in the species which 
appear along the river banks after every freshet. Seeds doubtless 
make longer journeys in this manner than by any other natural means 
except ocean currents and migrating birds. Most of the seeds which 
are carried long distances by the ocean currents are those of maritime 
plants which are especially adapted for floating and for retaining their 
germinative vitality in salt water. We have no record of any noxious 
weeds migrating in this manner. 

The distribution of weed seeds by water is of special importance in 
regions where irrigation is practiced. The Russian thistle was intro- 
duced in 1892 near the upper waters of the Arkansas River in Fre- 
mont County, Colo. The freshet in this river in the spring of 1894, 
together with the use of its water for irrigation, scattered the Rus- 
sian thistle in a single season over many of the farms throughout the 
valley as far as the eastern line of .the State. It has since traveled 
down the river and infested irrigated lands nearly one-third of the 
way across the State of Kansas. This plant has also spread exten- 
sively in irrigated lands along the Platte River in northern Colorado 
and along the Snake River in southern Idaho. We should doubtless 
find a similar record for the cocklebur, giant ragweed, high-water 
shrub, sunflower, and many other weeds if their histories could be 
traced in irrigated lands. The banks of irrigating canals and ditches 
offer exceptional advantages for the growth of highland weeds, and too 
often these weeds are permitted to ripen seeds which are carried by 


the water to all the farms below. Seed dispersion by irrigating water 
could to a large extent be prevented by destroying the weeds on the 
banks of the canals, and the question is simply whether this would 
not be cheaper than fighting the weeds after they have spread over 
the fields. Plants for binding the soil are needed on canal banks, but 
the root systems of noxious weeds are rarely of much value for this 
purpose. The place of the weeds could be well taken by soil-binding 
grasses that would be harmless in the fields. 


A third natural means of weed migration lies in tho transporta- 
tion of seeds by animals. The running blackberry, pokeweed, black 
nightshade, poison ivy, and a few other weeds have berries which are 
eaten by birds. The hard seeds of these berries pass undigested. 
The cowbird, red- winged blackbird, sparrows, and other seed-eating 
birds feed largely upon the seeds of pigeon grass, knotgrass, dande- 
lion, thistles, and ragweed. When these seeds are abundant, the 
birds sometimes eat more than they can digest, and thus they may 
carry undigested seeds to new localities. Migrating birds flying at 
the rate of 100 miles per hour may perhaps carry weed seeds in con- 
dition for germination to a distance of several hundred miles, but it 
is generally supposed that they do not fly long distances with full 
crops. There are not sufficient data upon which to base a definite 
statement as to how far weed seeds may be carried in this manner, 
but it may be safely asserted that the benefits due to the destruction 
of weed seeds by seed-eating birds outweigh a thousandfold the 
damage arising from their distribution of the seeds. 

The smaller and harder seeds eaten by well-fed cattle and horses 
usually pass undigested, unless they happen to be crushed by the 
teeth in chewing the food. In this manner, as these animals wander 
from field to fielder are driven along the road, they doubtless become 
to some extent responsible for the distribution of nut grass and some 
of the mustards, dodders, cinquefoils, and plantains. Without arti- 
ficial aid in transporting hay and grain containing the weed seeds and 
in carrying the manure from the barns to the fields this method of 
weed dispersion is of comparatively little consequence. The most 
important way in which animals, either wild or domesticated, aid in 
the distribution of weeds is by bearing the seeds on their coats. This 
is made possible by the hooks which are produced on the seed vessels 
of a great variety of plants, making them together or singly into 
burs, " stiek-tights," etc These structures appear in a great variety 
of forms, of which the following are a few typical examples: The 
akenes of the tall crowfoot (Ranunculus acris) and several other spe- 
cies of the genus Ranunculus are enabled to cling by means of their 
persistent hooked styles. The pods of wild licorice (Gflyeyrrhiza Tepi- 
ihta) (fig. 66, a, b) are covered with hooked spines. The wild carrot 


(Daucus carota) produces umbellate clusters of two-seeded fruits, 
each fruit armed with rows of small barbed hairs. In the composite 
flower of the Paraguay bur each separate scale of the inner involucre 
enlarges and becomes hard and spiny, carrying with it a seed, or 
akene. The involucral scales of Apache bur and creeping bur rag- 
weed (Gcertneria) and the cocklebur (Xanthium) (fig. 66, c, d) unite, 
forming hard spiny burs. In the place of the downy pappus adapting 
the seeds, or akenes, of the thistle and dandelion for aerial flight, the 
akenes of bur marigold and beggar's ticks (Bidens) (fig. 66, e,f) have 
two to four barbed awns, enabling them to adhere to the hair of ani- 
mals. The burs of the burdock (Arctium lappa) (fig. 66, g, h), which 
are almost ideal for the purposes of seed distribution, are composed of 
a ripened head surrounded by involucral scales with attenuate hooked 

Fig. GO.— Burs and seeds carried by animals: a, pod of wild licorice; 6, transverse section of same; 
c, cocklebur; d, transverse section of same; c. akene, or " seed," of bur marigold; /, same, side- 
view; g, burdock bur; ft, akene, or "seed," of burdock; i, fruit of hound's tongue with four 
nutlets; /;, nutlet, natural size; 7, nutlet, enlarged; m, bur of bur grass. 

tips. Each bur contains numerous seeds, which are distributed as the 
bur is carried along. Hound's- tongue ( Cynoglossum officinale) (fig. 66, 
i, Tc, Z) and several other species of the borage family have one-seeded 
nutlets, the surface of each nutlet being covered with short hooked or 
barbed prickles admirably adapted to cling to the hair of passing ani- 
mals. The burs of bur grass ( Cenchrus tribuloides) (fig. 66, m) are 
formed by a hard spiny involucre inclosing the ordinary grass spike- 
lets. The spines of these burs are rigid, minutely barbed, and exceed- 
ingly sharp, making them more injurious in wool than the burs of any 
other species found in North America. Bur grass is native in the 
Atlantic Coast region, but it has been introduced in nearly all parts of 
the United States where sheep raising is carried on extensively. The 
barbed stipes and awns of musky alfilerilla, porcupine grass, squirrel 


tail, and red chess furnish means by which the seeds of these plants 
attach themselves to the coats of animals. 

Many species of cacti have detachable spiny fruits and some detach- 
able joints armed with barbed or hooked spines. Cactus plants are 
not generally regarded as troublesome weeds and the spiny joints are 
not technically burs, but they perform the office of burs in distrib- 
uting and propagating the plants, and they cause the same kind 
of injury to wool and annoyance to animals that are caused by burs. 
The various methods now considered by which seeds are distributed 
without human aid are effective over moderate areas, but are inade- 
quate to explain the long and rapid migrations of weeds of which we 
have such notable examples in recent times. Seeds are rarely 
carried long distances by any of these methods, and when restricted 
to them plants make comparatively slow progress. Buffalo bur 
(Solanum rostratum), an admirable tumbleweed, native along the 
eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, had not crossed the plains 
to the Mississippi Biver until the emigrant trains began crossing in 
1849. Squirrel tail (Hordeum jubatum), native throughout most of 
the Bocky Mountain region from Montana to Mexico and along our 
Atlantic coast, first became a weed east of the Mississippi River after 
its introduction with "Western hay, although its brittle spikes with 
long barbed awns are well adapted for distribution by both wind and 
animals. The common dooryard plantain (JPlantago major), although 
native in British America as well as in Europe and Asia, was evi- 
dently rare in the United States before the coming of Europeans. 
The Indians called it "white man's foot" because it seemed to spring 
up wherever the white man went. Our introduced weeds have rarely 
spread in advance of the sheep herder or the lumberman. "We are 
forced to the conclusion that the plants which have become weeds of 
the farm have spread more through the agency of man than through 
all the natural agencies combined. Man tills the soil, subdues the 
native vegetation, and creates the conditions under which plants 
become weeds. - He also introduces and distributes the seeds, unin- 
tentionally in most cases, but nevertheless effectively. 


An analysis of the various artificial means of weed migration can 
not fail to impress one with their comparative importance, and it may 
lead to a recognition of ways in which artificial distribution can be 


Boots, rootstocks, and bulbs are sometimes carried from field to field 
and from farm to farm by plows, harrows, and cultivators. Some 
plants which are propagated chiefly by underground parts are dis- 
tributed almost exclusively by these tools. The aerial bulblets or sets 
12 A96 18 


of the wild garlic (AUium vineale) (fig. 67, a) often fall and take root 
close to the parent plant. The secondary or underground bulbs, if 
undisturbed, remain crowded together, sending up the little tufts of 
bluish-green shoots. These bulbs spread very slowly until they are 
scattered by the plow or harrow. The tubers of live-forever (Sedum 
telephium) (fig. 67, fc) persist year after year in the same place, sending 
up a slowly increasing clump of succulent stems, but rarely spreading 
until they are scattered about by the plow and cultivator. In some 
places where the trumpet creeper (Tecoma radicans) has become a 
very persistent and aggressive weed it does not produce seeds, but is 
propagated exclusively by its long, tough roots, which are distributed 

by cultivating tools. The rootstocks 
of couch grass, bouncing bet, and St. 
John's wort, and the roots of bind- 
weed, milkweed, and sometimes 
those of Canada thistle are scattered 
by cultivating tools. These roots 
and rootstocks are not often carried 
beyond the limits of the farm, how- 
ever. Seeds are frequently carried 
farther in farm machinery, espe- 
cially in self-binders and thrashing 
machines, which go from farm to 
farm without being cleaned. 


Seeds, bulbs, and rootstocks of 
weeds are too often carried in nur- 
sery stock or among garden plants. 
Nut grass (Cyperus roiundus) was 
introduced into Arkansas with 
strawberry plants from New Orleans 
and into southern California with 
orange trees from Florida. It is 
said to have been first introduced 
into this country with garden plants brought from the West Indies. 
Wild onion (AUium vineale) has been introduced into many lawns, 
from Philadelphia to Atlanta, in sods used in making the lawns. It 
was introduced into northeastern Ohio among bulbs of grape hyacinth 
brought from the Atlantic Coast. 

Fig. 67.— Boots and bulbs scattered by culti- 
vating tools: a, wild garlic; 6, live-forever. 


Weed seeds are often transported in the packing of crockery, glass- 
ware, and castings. The cheaper grades of imported crockery are 
usually packed in cheap hay or straw, in which the presence of seeds 


may be taken as a matter of course. Upon reacning America this 
crockery usually passes through the hands of the wholesaler and jobber 
to the retailer without repacking, thus gaining a wide distribution. 
When it is finally unpacked, the hay or straw is often thrown out on a 
vacant lot or, still worse, is used for stable bedding and then hauled out 
to the fields with the manure. The woolly mullein (Verbascum phlo- 
moides), native in France, is supposed to have been introduced at 
Dickeys Mills, Ky., in crockery packing. Two species of long-awned 
chess (Bromus tectorum and B. sterUis), both European grasses, were 
first found at T>enver, Colo., in the vicinity of a crockery store. 

Seeds are sometimes carried long distances in wool. An evidence 
is found in the strange plants, chiefly bur bearing, that spring up 
about woolen mills and in fields where wool waste from these mills 
has been used as a fertilizer. 


The transportation of hay offers a most ready and dangerous means 
for the dissemination of weed seeds. It is dangerous because it is one 
of the most difficult artificial means to control. Hay can not be readily 
inspected to detect the presence of weed seeds, and even if they are 
known to be present their removal is impracticable. An old tradi- 
tion states that the Canada thistle was first introduced into eastern 
New York in hay brought from Canada to feed the horses of General 
Burgoyne's army. One of the most southern localities in which the 
Canada thistle has persisted as a weed is Remington, Va., formerly 
Rappahannock Station, which was the supply station for General 
Grant's army before the campaign of the Wilderness. The Canada 
thistle and other weeds of similar character may be found around 
many of the abandoned lumber camps in Maine, Michigan, and Wis- 
consin. The Russian, thistle has been quite extensively introduced 
during the past six years in hay used at railway construction camps in 
North Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana. A single small consignment 
of Western prairie hay, cut inKansas or Oklahoma, as indicated by the 
plants contained, was examined in Michigan with the result of find- 
ing fifteen species of weeds. These included mature seed-bearing 
plants of buffalo bur {Solanum rostraium) y bull nettle {Solanum elm- 
agnifolium), and tumbleweed (Amaranthus albus). 


Impure commercial seeds afford the most important means for the 
transportation of weed seeds. It may be safely asserted that more 
of our foreign weeds have come to us through impure field and garden 
seeds than by all other means combined, and it is equally certain that 
weeds have been scattered about through this country in the same 
manner. English grasses were grown at Springfield, Mass., as early 
as 1658, and some introduced European weeds were recorded soon 


Pio. 68.— Russian thistle : a, fruit, seed surrounded 
by dried calyx, enlarged; 6, seed removed from 
calyx, enlarged; c, same, seen from above, nat- 
ural size; d, flax-seed; c, same, enlarged. 

afterwards. In 1672 Mr. John Josselyn published in New England's 
Earities a list "of such plants as have sprung up since the Eng- 
lish planted and kept cattle in New England." This list, comprising 
twenty-two species, includes couch grass, shepherd's purse, dandelion, 
groundsel, sow thistle, pigweed, dog fennel, and burdock. It is more 
than probable that the seeds of most of these plants were intro- 
duced with European seeds, which could not hare been well cleaned 
with the rude appliances then in use. Where modern methods of 

cleaning are used, weed seeds 
to secure extensive transporta- 
tion with commercial seeds must 
be of, approximately, the same 
size and weight as some com- 
mon commercial seed that is 
harvested and thrashed in bulk, 
such as small grain, grass, clo- 
ver, and flax. Plants that are 
handled separately, like corn, cotton, and many of the vegetables, 
present little opportunity for the admixture of weed seeds. The 
weed and the crop with which its seeds are distributed must have, 
approximately, the same period of growth and must reach maturity 
at the same time. 

The seed of Russian thistle (Salsola Tcali tragus) (fig. 68, a, b, c) was 
brought to South Dakota and sown with flaxseed (Linum usitatissi- 
raurn) (fig. 68, d, e). Since its first introduction we have records of its 
transportation in flaxseed, oats, wheat, and alfalfa. 

Wheat (Triticum vulgare) (fig. 69, a, Z>), which is one of our most 
important commercial grains, is permit- 
ted to act as a transporting agency for 
many weed seeds. The seeds carried 
with wheat vary in different parts of the 
country. In Maryland, Virginia, and 
Tennessee, the southeastern part of the 
wheat range, the bulblets of wild onion 
are often present and are most injurious, 
as they ruin the flour. They are not seeds, 
but they perf orm the office of seeds in the 
reproduction of the plant, and should 
the wild onion be introduced in a region 
where wheat growing is conducted on a large scale, it would probably 
spread much more rapidly than it now does. Chess (Bromu£ secali- 
nus) (fig. 69, c) is found in wheat in nearly all wheat-growing regions. 
With modern cleaning machinery it may be removed almost com- 
pletely, so that there is little excuse for sowing chess with wheat. Coc- 
kle (Agrostemma githago) (fig. 69, d, e) is found in wheat, especially 
throughout the North. Cockle seeds are normally somewhat smaller 

Flo. G9.— Wheat and its most com- 
mon impurities: a, wheat grain, 
enlarged; 6, b, same, natural size; 
<l, seed of cockle, enlarged; e, 
same, natural size, smaller than 
cockle seeds developed by cultiva- 
tion; c, spikelet of chess, inclosing 
seed, natural size. 



than wheat grains. In some parts of the Northwest, where wheat for 
sowing has been cleaned year after year by steam cleaners, all the 
cockle seeds except the largest ones have been removed, and these 
have been sown until a large-seeded strain of cocklebur has been bred, 
which is very difficult to separate from wheat. 

Oats ( Avena sativa) (fig. 70, a, b) are lighter and more difficult to 
clean than wheat, and therefore, in spite of the fact that they are cul- 
tivated and shipped to a much less extent than wheat, they are respon- 
sible for nearly as large a distribution of weed seeds. The seeds that 
are found as impurities in oats are usually, as might be expected, dif- 
ferent in shape from those most common in wheat, although the elon- 
gated grain of chess is common to both oats and wheat. On the Pacific 
Coast four varieties of wild oats are common among the cultivated 
species. These are the common wild oat (Avena fatua) (fig. 70, c), 
bastard oat ( Avena fatua 
gldbrescens) (fig. 70, d), slen- 
der oat {Avena barbata), 
and fly oat (Avena sterilis). 
One of these, the wild oat, 
has been found as far east 
as Illinois, but has not be- 
come abundant enough to 
be troublesome east of the 
Mississippi River. Wild 
mustard (Brassica sinapis- 
trum) (fig. 70, e, f, g, h) 
is common and increasing 
in oats and spring wheat 
from New England to Ore- 
gon. The small shot-like 
seeds of the mustard (fig. 
70, g) could be readily sep- 
arated from the oat were it not that the mustard pod is often 
broken by the thrashing machine into segments which retain the seed 
and which are of about the same size and weight as the oat grain. 
Weed seeds have doubtless been transported with the seeds of red 
clover (Trifolium pratense) (fig. 71, a, o) more largely than with any 
other kind of commercial seeds. More weed seeds are mature in 
autumn, when clover seed is harvested, than earlier in the season, when 
other crops are cut, and the seeds of a great many weeds being, approx- 
imately, of the same size as those of clover, their separation is more 
difficult from clover than from wheat, oats, or barley. Even after pass- 
ing through the modern seed-cleaning machines red-clover seed is often 
not more than 95 to 97 per cent pure, while less than one-half of 1 
per cent of impurity is left in wheat after it has passed the cleaners 
now in use in flouring mills. A standard of purity of even 95 per cent 
has rarely been approached in red clover until within the last ten 

Fig. 70. — The oat and some of its common impurities: 
a, cultivated oat; &, same, enlarged; c, wild oat, natu- 
ral size; d, l)astard oat, natural size; c, pod of wild 
mustard; fh, sections of same, enlarged; g, wild mus- 
tard seed, enlarged. 


years, and even now there is a sufficient demand for cheap seed to 
keep an uncleaned article on the market. This uncleaned seed rarely 
passes through the hands of large dealers and is seldom exported. The 
weed seeds most common in clover seed are the following: Rib grass 
(Flantago lanceolate/,) (fig. 71, to, n), pigeon grass {Setaria glauca) 
(fig. 71, i, j), sorrel (Bumex acetoseUa) (fig. 71, o, p, r, s), black bind- 
weed (Polygonum convolvulus) (fig. 71, c, d, e), blackheart (Polygonum 
lapaiJiifolium) (fig. 71,/, g, h), and bracted plantain (Planlago aristata) 
(fig. 71, 7c, I). Seeds of white cockle, ragweed, prickly lettuce, pepper- 
grass, Canada thistle, bull thistle, oxeye daisy, and wild carrot are not 
infrequent, while those of dandelion, pigweed, careless weed, chicory, 
and many other species are occasionally found. The presence or ab- 
sence of some species depends on the locality where the seeds are 

Fig. 71.— Clover seed and some of its impurities: a, clover seed; 6, same, enlarged; c, fruiting 
calyx of black 'bindweed, inclosing seed, enlarged; d, seed; e, same, enlarged; /, fruiting calyx 
of blackheart, inclosing seed, enlarged; g, seed; ft, same, enlarged; »*, seed of pigeon grass; j, 
same, enlarged; fc, seed of bracted plantain; I, same, enlarged; m, seed of rib grass; n, same, 
enlarged; o, fruiting calyx of sorrel; p, same, enlarged; r, seed; s, same, enlarged. 

grown, as none of the above-mentioned species except ragweed, pigeon 
grass, and sorrel are universally abundant throughout the red-clover 
region. Rib grass is recommended as a forage plant in Europe, and it 
is said to have been sown for this purpose in New England at an early 
date. It owes its introduction and wide dissemination, however, much 
more to impure clover seed than to its use as a forage plant. In 1888 
a local dealer in a small town in Michigan offered for sale as clover 
seed a mixture that contained nearly 40 per cent of rib-grass seed. 
Evidently no attempt had been made to clean this seed, but where 
rib grass is abundant in the clover fields, even with the greatest care, 
its seed is almost certain to appear as an impurity in the clover seed. 
It is almost impossible to separate it completely, even with modern 


cleaning machinery, but nearly all other weed seeds can be cleaned 
from red-clover seed. 

Seeds of white clover and alsike clover are more difficult to clean 
than those of red clover, especially if they contain seeds of sorrel or 
peppergrass. A large proportion of the white-clover seed used in this 
country is imported, and as it usually enters into mixtures for lawns 
and permanent pastures it is doubtless responsible to a large extent 
for the present wide distribution of sorrel. The smaller weed seeds, 
like those of moth mullein and the fleabane daisies, are doubtless 
distributed to a considerable extent in grass seeds, but a large pro- 
portion of the impurities in grass seeds usually consists of the seeds 
of other grasses. 


A few of our most troublesome weeds have been intentionally intro- 
duced for use or ornament. Rib grass, as already mentioned, is said 
to have been sown for forage in New England in the early colonial 
days. The seed of oxeye daisy is said to have been brought to Rhode 
Island about 1815 and planted to obtain horse feed. It is recorded, 
however, as having been abundant and injurious in grass lands in 
Massachusetts as early as 1783. It has often been planted in gardens 
for ornament, and has doubtless escaped thence to the fields. The 
wild garlic (Allium vineaM), which is now the most injurious weed 
from New Jersey to North Carolina and Tennessee, is said to have 
been introduced into the gardens of the early settlers at Germantown, 
Pa. ; for use as a flavoring plant, like our common onion. Chicory is 
said to have been introduced for greens by Governor Bowdoin, who 
brought plants from Holland in 1785 and planted them in the grounds 
about his residence at Mount Bowdoin, Dorchester, Mass. Chicory 
now overruns all the waste ground in that vicinity. 

Purslane was cultivated for greens in the gardens of Massachusetts 
as early as 1672. Early in the present century it was taken from 
New York to Michigan to be used as a pot herb, and there are doubt- 
less many instances unrecorded where this pest of the garden has been 
purposely planted for use. Live-forever, which has become so trouble- 
some in central New York and in some New England States, was 
introduced for ornament, as a medicinal plant, or as a curiosity in 
nearly every locality where it has since spread. Bladder ketmia, 
bouncing bet, caraway, cornflower, and the annual morning-glories 
have in nearly all cases where they are now abundant escaped from 
old flower gardens. Golden hawkweed, wild carrot, ramsted, and 
squirrel tail have also been planted in flower gardens. Squirrel tail 
and ramsted have been advertised as ornamental plants in American 
seed catalogues within the last five years. 

The water hyacinth, which is stopping the drainage in some of the 


smaller streams in Florida and Louisiana and even threatening navi- 
gation in the St. Johns River, is a notable example of an escaped orna- 
mental plant. 


Certain means of introduction and routes of transportation are indi- 
cated by the names "ballast plants," "roadside weeds," and "weeds 
along the towpath." There is need of still one more term of this 
class, "railway weeds." When sailing vessels and earth ballast were 
used much more than at present, the ballast grounds at Philadel- 
phia, New York City, Boston, and Baltimore were favorite collecting 
grounds for botanists, as they continually presented species new to 
the country. One hundred and three species were taken in ballast 

Fig. 72.— Map showing distribution of wild carrot, prickly lettuce, and chondrilla. 

from Buenos Ayres to New Zealand within a period of a few years. ' 
Roadsides in the country are usually lined with weeds, the seeds of 
which have fallen from loads of hay and grain and from the fur of 
animals. In some parts of northeastern Oregon the sheep trails are 
lined with red chess (Bromus rubens), the long barbed awns of which 
cling to wool. Many plants new to New York have been introduced 
along the Erie Canal. A large proportion of the seeds doubtless came 
in the hay and grain fed to the horses and mules along the towpath. ^ 
The introduction of weeds from this source increased to such an extent 
that in 1847 the legislature of New York passed a special law requir-j 
ing the destruction of "thistles and other noxious weeds growing 
on the banks and sides of canals." The railroad has superseded 
the canal in the transportation of weed seeds as well as in that of 



passengers and freight. Before the Canadian Pacific Railway was 
completed, the tumbling mustard, previously unknown in the North- 
west Provinces, was found at many points along the line. Many other 
weeds have migrated westward along this railway, some of them 
almost keeping pace with the work of construction. Railway trans- 
portation offers many facilities for the migration of weed seeds. In 
the West, tumbleweeds are frequently blown into the trucks of cars 
and are carried long distances. There are records of two instances, 
one in North Dakota and one in Minnesota, in which grain cars were 
wrecked, each case resulting in an abundant introduction of the Rus- 
sian thistle. This plant seems to be particularly a railway weed. It 
has appeared first along the railways in sixteen of the twenty-one 
States and Territories in which it has been introduced. In nearly all 

Fio. 73.-Map showing distribution of Canada thistle, Russian thistle, and nut grass. 

the States where it is now found its wide distribution has been effected 
chiefly by the railways, in spite of the fact that the railway compa- 
nies have generally done more than all other parties to combat it. 



The accompanying maps (figs. 72 and 73), showing the present geo- 
graphic distribution of some typical weeds in the United States, will 
indicate some of the peculiarities in the ranges of weeds. Some plants 
are restricted to the northern part of the country and others to the 
southern part. These restrictions are evidently due chiefly to differ- 
ences in temperature, length of growing season, and moisture. The 
mustards are generally confined to the North, while the nightshade 


and spurge families are more abundantly represented in tlie South. 
Canada thistle,. Russian thistle, mid carrot, and prickly lettuce are 
mostly restricted to the North. All of them extend into Canada, 
but for lack of sufficient data their ranges are not indicated on the 
map beyond the borders of the United States. Canada thistle intro- 
duced on the G-ulf Coast does not survive. The other species, while 
surviving in the South, do not increase as rapidly or crowd out other 
vegetation to as great an extent as they do in the North. Nut grass 
( Cyperus rotundus) is very troublesome in many localities from North 
Carolina to Arkansas and Texas, but it does not thrive farther north, 
where the frost reaches deep enough to affect its tubers. 

Some weeds appear to thrive best on soil that has been worn out by 
long cultivation. Examples are found in the oxeye daisy and wild 
carrot, both of which were introduced on our Atlantic Coast more than 
a century ago. They are both slowly' migrating westward, generally 
keeping twenty-five years or more behind the advance of cultivation, 
that is, they rarely become abundant in a locality that has been set- 
tled less than twenty-five years. The oxeye daisy was introduced 
along the shores of the Great Lakes by the early French missionaries, 
and, although it has persisted in some of their camping places, it has 
not spread in those localities until within recent years. Quite the 
opposite tendency is exhibited by fire weed {EreeMites hieracifolia) 
and bull thistle, which thrive best on recently cleared land and usually 
decrease or disappear entirely after the land has been cultivated a few 

Two plants whose natural adaptations for spreading ai-e almost 
identical may differ entirely in their actual migrations on account of 
their different relations to human agency. Prickly lettuce and chon- 
drilla were introduced into this country at about the same time. 
Each produces seeds from early in July until frost kills the plant in 
autumn. The seeds (akenes) of both species are of nearly the same 
size, approximately the same in number on average plants, and pro- 
vided with the same kind of stalked pappus for distribution by the 
wind. Chondrilla was introduced in West Virginia, where compara- 
tively little clover seed or hay is produced for shipment, and it has 
scarcely spread beyond the valley of the Potomac River. Prickly 
lettuce, introduced in Ohio and Michigan, soon reached localities 
where the chief industries were the production of hay and clover seed 
for shipment, and its distribution has been exceedingly rapid. 

The germinative vitality of the seed has also a potent influence on 
the plant's migrations. Canada thistle is said to have been introduced 
in Lower Canada more than two centuries ago, but its present distri- 
bution scarcely exceeds that of the Russian thistle, introduced less 
than a quarter of a eentury ago. The chances of the distribution of 
seeds are nearly equal for the two species, but the production of per- 
fect seeds in the Canada thistle is very irregular, while the Russian 


thistle seldom fails to produce a good supply of seeds eapable of 


A study of the origin of weeds now in this country will impress one 
with the largeness of the number that have been introduced from 
Europe in comparison with, the number of native species or of species 
received from other directions. In the list of 200 weeds of the United 
States published in the Yearbook for 1895, 108 species are of foreign 
origin, while 92 are native. Of the 108 introduced species, 64 are 
native in Europe and 30 are ascribed to the Old World in general, only 
2 Asiatic species in the list having established themselves as weeds in 
this country "without being first distributed in Europe. Africa and 
Australia are not represented among our weeds, while Central and 
South America have contributed only 12 or 15 important species, most 
of which are confined to the Gulf States. A list of the plants of Michi- 
gan published in 1892 1 contains 1,604 indigenous species, of which 22 
are recognized as injurious weeds, and 142 species introduced from 
Europe, of which 57 have become troublesome "weeds. 

A list of Kansas weeds 2 enumerating 209 species contains 129 native 
species, 42 introduced from Europe, and 38 from all other sources. 
Eighteen species native in the States east of the Mississippi Eiver 
have been introduced into Kansas in opposition to the prevailing 
winds and the direction of the drainage, while only 3 Bpecies are men- 
tioned which have come from the Becky Mountain region with both 
of these natural forces in their favor. 

In an article on the weeds of California 8 110 species aie mentioned 
as troublesome in that State. Of these, 53 are native, 43 are intro- 
duced from Europe, 5 are from the eastern United States, 3 from Cen- 
tral and South America, and only 2 from Asia. Even in the States 
bordering the Gulf of Mexico the number of weeds introduced from 
Europe in cultivated land equals or exceeds those from Mexico and 
South America. Canada thistle, bur clover, and skunkweed have 
been taken from California to Australia, where they quickly became 
naturalized and are now rapidly spreading. 

The general trend of weed migration is westward, from Europe to 
America, from the Atlantic States to the Mississippi Valley and onward 
to the Pacific Slope, and even across the Pacific Ocean to Australia 
and ISew Zealand. Less than half a dozen American Bpecies have 
become troublesome in Europe. Only three or four species from west 
of the Mississippi River have become widely distributed in the Eastern 

1 Michigan ITlora, by W. J. Beal and C, E. Wheeler, Thirtieth Annual Report of 
the Michigan State Board of Agriculture. 

s Bulletin No. 57, Kansas State Agricultural College, Weeds of Kansas, by A S. 
Hitchcock and J. B. S. Norton. 

s Weeds of California, byE. W. Hilgard, Report of the Agricultural Experiment 
Station of tho University of California for 1890. 


States, and only one or two weedy species have entered the country 
on the western coast from Asia or the islands of the Pacific Ocean. 


One of the chief reasons for the preponderance of European species 
among our introduced weeds lies, doubtless, in the fact that our 
commerce with Europe is greater than with all the other continents 
combined. Until within the last twenty-five years our traffic with Asia, 
Australia, and South America has been comparatively unimportant, 
and even now we have very little direct communication with Africa. 
This country was settled by Europeans who have planted European 
crops with seeds imported from Europe. It is but a natural conse- 
quence of these conditions, therefore, that among the introduced weeds 
of this country those of Europe should predominate. 


It is only within the last half century that the exportation of Amer- 
ican-grown field seeds, such as clover, grass, and grain seeds, has 
equaled the importation of seeds of these kinds from Europe. During 
the earlier years, when the greater proportion of seeds sown in this 
country came from Europe, the imperfections in the gradually im- 
proving seed-cleaning machinery made it impossible to clean seeds as 
perfectly as those now exported to Europe may be cleaned. Even 
now, owing to the greater number of weeds in Europe with seeds 
adapted for distribution in field seeds, and the fact that the seed- 
cleaning machinery in common use there is generally inferior to the 
fanning mills used on the farms here, the commercial seeds as placed 
upon the market usually contain more impurities than do those sold 
by the seed growers in the United States, and unless extra care is 
exercised by European exporters in cleaning their seeds they are 
likely to contain more weed seeds than do those which are now 
shipped from this country to Europe. Thus the exchanges in com- 
mercial seeds with Europe have favored the Avestward migration of 
weed seeds. 

Somewhat similar conditions have existed in the transportation of 
field seeds within the United States. The growth of clover, grass, 
and grain seeds for sowing, beginning on the Atlantic Coast, has been 
slowly moving westward, until now the chief supply is produced in 
the Mississippi Valley. As the standards of purity have been con- 
stantly improving during all these years, most of the seeds which 
are shipped toward the east contain less weed seeds than those 
which have been shipped westward. Two notable examples may be 
cited of weeds that have migrated eastward with commercial seeds. 
Yellow daisy {BudbecTcia hirta) is said to have been unknown in 
New England until clover and grass seeds were brought there 
from New York, and during the past few years bracted plantain 


{Flantago aristata) has appeared in many places in the East, where 
its seed had evidently been sown with clover from the Mississippi 
Valley. These two instances are notable because of their singu- 
larity, but they also indicate that, were all other conditions equal, 
we might reasonably expect a greater eastward migration of weeds 
than we now have. 


Another and very different reason why the course of weed migration 
coincides with that of cultivation lies in the physiological history of 
the plants themselves. The cultivation of the land beginning in the 
valleys of the Euphrates and the Nile has been extending westward 
for more than thirty centuries. Many of the weeds of agriculture as 
well as many of the cultivated plants had their origin in Asia Minor 
or in the region of the Mediterranean Sea. Cultivation produces the 
conditions of environment under which weeds develop. It also aids 
in producing conditions in the constitution of the plant itself which 
render migration possible. To become a weed a plant must be well 
adapted to exist and multiply under the conditions with which it is 
surrounded. The weeds of agriculture are usually surrounded with 
more or less artificial conditions, due to cultivation and grazing. To 
become a weed throughout a wide geographic range a plant must 
have a wide range of adaptability. The ranges of indigenous species 
are frequently limited by changes in the soil, temperature, humidity, 
intensity of sunlight, and length of growing season. Many indigenous 
plants are unable to withstand the changes brought about by cultiva- 
tion. Thus, in Michigan, while 22 indigenous species have adapted 
themselves to the conditions of cultivation and have become weeds, 37 
species which were formerly common are fast disappearing. Their 
places are being taken by 142 European species, which are rapidly 
becoming naturalized. All these introduced plants are found in cul- 
tivated ground or in waste land about villages in Europe. Instances 
are exceedingly rare of plants from uncultivated land in Europe 
becoming naturalized in America. Plants acquire a habit of growth 
suited to their environment. If they grow generation after generation 
under the same conditions, this habit becomes fixed and is not readily 
changed to suit different conditions. If, on the other hand, the envi- 
ronment of the plant is frequently changed, the plant either dies and 
becomes extinct or it acquires a flexible habit capable of adapting 
itself to a great variety of situations. The processes of agriculture, 
including the rotation of crops, grazing and trampling of animals, 
clearing of woodland, draining and irrigating, imply a continual 
change of conditions. The plants that survive these changes must 
necessarily acquire a considerable range of adaptability. This range 
is still further enlarged by transportation from one locality to another. 
The possibilities of transportation to considerable distances are many 


thousand times greater by artificial means, such, as affect plants of cul- 
tivated land, than by natural means, which must be depended upon 
by plants of wild land. 

Nearly all the indigenous species of America that have become mi- 
gratory weeds, as bur grass, cocklebur, squirrel tail, horseweed, and 
buffalo bur, are adapted to distribution by animals or wind, and have 
long had a wide range from north to south. They had, therefore, a 
considerable degree of adaptability before encountering the conditions 
of cultivation. 


The discussion may be summed up in the following statement of 
facts and conclusions : 

1. Weeds effect a dispersion of their kind independently of their 
external agencies by means of runners, rootstoeks, running roots, and 
apparatus for throwing seeds. 

2. The dispersion of weed seeds is aided by the natural agencies of 
wind, water, and animals. 

3. Seeds are rarely carried long distances by natural agencies. 

4. Weed migration is aided by man more than by all the natural 
means combined. 

5. To become a migratory weed a plant must have a wide range of 

6. A plant acquires a wider range of adaptability under conditions 
of cultivation than in wild land. 

7. The general direction of weed migration coincides with that of 
the progress of cultivation. 

Weed migration may be checked by the following means : 

1. By preventing the production of seeds and burs. 

2. By using greater care in cleaning farm machinery moved from 
field to field. 

3. By using greater care to prevent the transportation of seeds, 
bulbs, and roots with nursery stock. 

4. By burning the "packing" of crockery, castings, etc. 

5. By destroying weeds in the meadow or throwing them out as hay 
is baled. 

6. By using greater care in cleaning commercial seeds. 

7. By a consideration of the probable consequences before purposely 
introducing plants like chicory, purslane, or oxeye daisy. 

8. By having "ballast weeds," "roadside weeds," and "railway 
weeds " watched for and destroyed before they become weeds of the 


(Vigna catjang.) 

By Jaeed G. Smith, 
Assistant Agrostologist, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


The cowpea is to the South what alfalfa is to the West and red 
clover to the North — a forage plant perfectly adapted to the needs of 
the region where it grows. The cultivation of this crop in America 
dates back to the early part of the eighteenth century. A South Car- 
olina planter received a quantity of seed from a foreign source, which, 
according to certain authorities, was an English acclimatization society 
or the captain of a trading vessel from f ar-of£ India or China. From 
this small and obscure beginning cowpeas spread throughout the 
South, and their cultivation has been essayed as far north as Connec- 
ticut, New York, and South Dakota, and westward to California. 

Cowpeas grow wild in far eastern tropical lands, including India, 
China, Siam, the Malay Archipelago, and portions of Central Africa, 
and have become an escape from cultivation in the southern United 
States and tropical America. From the South the plant has been car- 
ried in recent years to South Africa and Australia, so that it is now 
grown as a forage plant or for human food throughout all the warmer 
quarters of the globe. Cowpeas are in their relationship and habit of 
growth really beans, and not, as the name would indicate, peas. They 
belong to the genus Vigna, the members of which are largely repre- 
sented in South Africa, and are closely related to the lablab, lima, and 
haricot beans of our gardens, as well as to numerous cultivated or half- 
wild garden sorts common in tropical Asia and America, but little 
known to us. 

There are a very large number of named forms or varieties of this 
forage plant. New forms are constantly arising, due to variations 
in habit of growth, color of leaf, stem, and pod, and the shape and 
color of the seed. Variations from any chosen type are constantly 
appearing, and as one or another of these sports or forms gains suffi- 
cient local reputation a new name is applied and sooner or later the 
supposed new variety is placed upon the market. In this way one 
variety of cowpea may be cultivated in a dozen different localities 
under as many names, or a dozen different peas may bear the same 
name. The whole subject of the nomenclature of varieties is in a 
chaotic state and can be straightened out only after years of careful 



study have been given to it by botanists and the experimental agri- 
culturists. No valid conclusions can be drawn from the brief study 
of a subject so complex. Cowpeas pass through every gradation of 
form, from a short, stocky, upright bush having single stems a foot 
high with very short lateral branches to those with trailing runners 
growing as flat upon the ground as sweet-potato and melon vines, the 
prostrate stems 15 or 20 feet in length. The pods vary from 4 to 16 
inches in length, and the peas are of every imaginable shade through 
white, yellow, green, pink, gray, brown, red, purple, and black, of 
solid colors or variously mottled and speckled, and of varying sizes 
and forms from large kidney-shaped to little round ones smaller than 
the garden pea. There is a like variation in the length of time the 
different forms require to ripen seed, some requiring eight or nine 
months, a few ripening in sixty days from the time of planting. 

There seems to be a somewhat constant relation between the time 
required for attaining maturity and the habit of growth. The bush 
varieties ripen in a shorter season than the trailers, but a bush vari- 
ety taken from the North will, in the course of a few seasons, assume 
the trailing habit and lengthen out its period of growth in any of the 
Southern States. Also, a runner or creeper requiring six to eight 
months for reaching maturity in Louisiana will, if planted each year 
a hundred miles farther north, gradually accommodate itself to the 
shorter season and at the same time shorten its runners, approaching 
more and more to the upright or "bush " habit of growth. There can 
be no hard and fast line of separation between bush peas, trailers, 
and runners. The best varietal character is probably the color of 
the seed. It is quite probable that more than one species is in culti- 
vation. The "red"and "black" varieties are closely allied; the round 
"lady" peas form a separate group; the large "black-eyed" and 
"purple-eyed" are typical of another, and the variously mottled and 
speckled "whip-poor-wills " are only a degree removed from the solid- 
colored yellow, pink, and light-brown ones, and together would nat- 
urally be taken to constitute one species or variety. The black peas 
pass through various shades of red before maturity. The red varieties 
sometimes cany their change of color in ripening so far that they can 
not be distinguished from the black. The ' ' black-eyed " and ' ' purple- 
eyed " are of the same ground color, differing only in the color of the 
ring surrounding the eye. The various ' ' erowders, " yellow and white, 
the whip-poor-will, clay, and "yellow-eyed" forms have numerous 
crosses and so-called hybrids in which the fundamental yellows and 
bi'owns form varying mixtures. 


A field of cowpeas has been very happily designated "the poor man's 
bank," for in common with all its leguminous congeners, the field 
pea, clovers, alfalfa, and a score of others, this crop has the power of 

cowpeas. 289 

increasing the fertility of the soil upon which it grows. This fact has 
long been accepted by farmers and students of agriculture, but until 
recent discoveries in Germany and America it v^as believed that the 
chief function of these plants was to pump up nitrogen from the sub- 
soil reservoir to the surface by means of their long roots for the use 
and benefit of succeeding crops. 

But experiments in the field and laboratory for the purpose of deter- 
mining the causes of natural phenomena have taken the place of class- 
room philosophy and speculative reasoning. Within the last twenty 
years scientific workers have discovered that minute micro-organisms, 
or bacteria, which live within the tissues of the roots of leguminous 
plants take up free nitrogen from the gases in the soil, just as the 
higher plants and animals utilize the oxygen of the air. This nitrogen 
enters into combination to form nitric acid, which unites with the min- 
eral elements of the soil to form nitrates, a kind of plant food exceed- 
ingly valuable to the growing crop. Nitrogen, when in combination 
with other elements, is an indispensable form of plant and animal 
food, but the free element can not be utilized, uncombined, by any of 
the higher organisms. Small amounts of nitrous acid are formed 
as a result of lightning discharges and are washed out of the air by the 
rains, to be in part absorbed by the soil, and in part carried by rivers 
and drainage waters into the sea. Free nitrogen exists only in the" 
air and in the gases of the soil, but as ammonia, nitrous and nitric 
acid, nitrites and nitrates, it is present in varying quantities in 
the soil, the unbroken rocks, and the waters of continents and 

The most available purchasable nitrogen is obtained either as salt- 
peter or nitrate of soda from the extensive deposits in the Peruvian 
deserts, or from some form of animal wastes, such as freshly ground 
bone, dried blood, guano, tankage, and fish scrap, and from cotton-seed 
meal and other like by-products of the oil mills. These fertilizers are 
all expensive, so much so that they can be profitably employed by the 
farmer only in intensive farming with specialized crops. The gain in 
yield with low-priced crops, such as corn, cotton, tobacco, cowpeas, 
and the grasses, using high-grade and costly fertilizers, is not com- 
mensurate with the additional expense. But every farmer, rich and 
poor, has over three thousand tons of atmospheric nitrogen resting on 
every acre of his farm, a certain quantity of which can be transformed 
into available plant food every time that he grows a crop of cowpeas, 
red clover, or alfalfa. 

There are a great many acres of farming land in the South in need 
of renovation. The red uplands and yellow-clay soils were undoubtedly 
less fertile ox-iginally than the alluvial and black prairie soils, and the 
methods of cultivation which formerly prevailed have still further 
diminished their productiveness. In the days when every plantation 
12A96 19 


numbered its acres by the thousand and labor was cheap, the planter 
could afford to clear off the native forest growth and bring fresh fields 
into cultivation whenever the yields of cotton and tobacco fell below 
what was considered a profitable figure. The old field, stripped in a 
few years of its accumulated store of humus, was abandoned and 
allowed to grow up to weeds and xinderbrush. The forest again sjn'ead 
across it, and gradually, in the slow course of half a lifetime, the nat- 
ural enrichment of its sux'face soil by the growth of the woodland 
grasses made it ready for another robbery. 

But with the breaking up of the large estates and the abrupt change 
in the labor conditions this method of farming became no longer profit- 
able or even possible. A planter with fewer acres could no longer 
afford to await nature's slow process of rejuvenating the soil. A new 
system of farming was necessary. The land must not be allowed to 
"go back." It must be kept up to the highest state of productiveness 
by a rotation of crops, a judicious use of commercial fertilizers, the 
growth of nitrogen-fixing leguminous crops, and good and thorough 
cultivation. To maintain the fertility of any soil the amount of humus 
or decaying organic matter in it must be kept up. Take two soils of 
as nearly as possible the same physical and geological formation, but 
the one rich in humus and the other lacking it, and fertilize them with 
equal quantities of commercial manures; the one which has the most 
organic matter in its composition will yield the largest crop. The soil 
on that field will stand drought better, will wash less under torrential 
rains, and be more friable and of better tilth. The average soils of 
the South need more humus. It can be best supplied by sowing more 
grass, more permanent pasture lands, more leguminous crops. In a 
word, plant cowpeas. 


There is no forage plant better adapted to the needs and conditions 
of Southern agriculture than this rank, free-growing annual. It will 
thrive luxuriantly upon the rich, swampy, cane lands of Louisiana. 
On the driest and most sterile worn-out uplands it serves the admir- 
able purpose of supplying a larger quantity and better quality of for- 
age than any other bean or clover. And whenever a crop of cowpeas 
has been taken off a field the surface soil is left richer by a good 
many pounds of that most costly of all plant foods, nitrogen. The 
roots of the cowpea enter deeply into the soil, opening and loosening 
it far down for the benefit of the roots of the succeeding crops of corn, 
cotton, and tobacco. It has been found by experiment that the ferti- 
lizing value of the roots and stubble of the cowpea are very consider- 
able, but not as great as that of the hay removed from the field. The 
best and most economical use of this forage crop is, then, to cut for hay, 
feed to stock, and return the stable manure to the soil. Plowing the 
whole crop under is less remunerative because there is much needless 


waste of the muscle-making and fat-forming constituents of the plant 
which would bring more profit if turned into beef, pork, wool, cheese, 
or butter. 

As regards the disposal of the crop, there is a wide variation in 
practice. The feeding value of vines and peas much exceeds their 
fertilizing value. But as between the practice of turning the vines 
under green in autumn and that of allowing them to lie on the 
ground during the winter, the latter is undoubtedly sometimes to be 
preferred, though theoretically wrong. Theoretically, to plow the 
vines under in autumn will be to save all the available nitrogen and 
convert the whole plant into humus. Practically, the turning under 
of so large an amount of watery green herbage is highly injurious, 
causing a too rapid decay and consequent "burning" or souring of 
the soil. The upper soil layers, freshly stirred and mellowed in 
autumn, lose more by leaching and washing than they do in an 
unplowed field covered by its winter mulch of decaying herbage, 
though in both cases there is a decided loss of fertility over what 
would result by following the peas with a crop of rye, winter wheat, 
the turf -forming winter oats, winter vetch, or crimson clover. The 
yields of forage are better on rich soils than on poor ones, but the 
beneficial effects upon the succeeding crop due to the growth of this 
one are not so marked in the former case as in the latter. 


Cowpeas are planted broadcast or in drills, very commonly between 
the corn rows after the crop is laid by. The amount of seed used 
varies from 4 quarts to 2 bushels per acre, the average amount being, 
perhaps, about 3 pecks. If sown in drills, 18 to 30 inches apart, less 
seed is required than when sown broadcast. The seed will stand being 
covered to the depth of 2 or 3 inches, but care must be taken to plant 
when the ground is neither too wet nor too cold, as the peas rot very 
rapidly under such circumstances. In regard to excess of moisture 
cowpeas behave like beans, and in the early stages delight in a warm, 
mellow seed bed. Much of the failure that has attended the attempted 
introduction of cowpeas into the Northern States is due to planting 
before the ground is warm enough. It must be remembered that this 
plant originated in the Tropics and that when transplanted to higher 
altitudes it makes its best growth in the hottest weather. It is even 
more susceptible to cold and wet than is Indian corn. Hence, proper 
delay in planting will permit economy in the use of seed. Where the 
vines are grown for hay, the yield will be larger if the seed is planted 
in drills and cultivated a time or two. The yield of peas is also larger 
when only a moderate amount of seed is sown and the vines have more 
space and light and air between them. It is also heavier from late- 
planted vines than from the very early ones. In tests to determine 
the relative value of different named varieties it has been found that, 


as a rule, those which make the heaviest yields of vines also bear large 
crops of peas. 

The vines should be mowed for hay when the peas are well formed 
and the leaves are first beginning to turn yellow. After wilting on 
the ground or in windrows from twenty-four to forty-eight hours, the 
hay is placed in small, thin piles, or cocks, and allowed to cure for 
several days, when it may be carted to the barn or stacked under 
sheds. The haymaking process is a difficult one, requiring more care 
and attention than in the case of red clover, because the broad leaves 
and thick stems contain a larger amount of water. The hay must be 
placed in cocks before the leaves become brittle, and the piles must 
be small enough to allow free circulation of air to the center of each. 
Bright cowpea hay, clean and well cured, is worth as much as the 
best red-clover hay, and there is no good reason why the Southern 
farmers and planters should buy the Northern-grown article for their 
working stock or for fattening their cattle. Every ton of hay used on 
the estate should be grown there. Another method of curing hay is 
to stack the vines in a pen or rack of rails or poles so arranged as to 
allow the air to enter every part of the pile. This stacking over poles 
is the best where the vines are pulled, or where the trailing and creep- 
ing sorts are used. The bush varieties are the best for hay, because of 
the greater ease with which they may be mowed and handled. They 
also hold their leaves better than the ranker trailing sorts. The yield 
of hay varies according to the fertility of the soil upon which it is 
raised, whether it is grown on rich lowlands or on the drier and more 
sterile uplands. In the Gulf States cowpeas will probably give an 
average yield of 2 to 3 tons per acre, while 4 to G tons are not uncom- 
mon. Farther north the average will range from 1| tons in Ohio to 
1\ tons in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. As with other crops, 
the time of planting, the character of the soil and of the cultivation, 
and the amount of rainfall have much to do with the yield. Along 
the Gulf it is one of the best hay crops. North of the latitude of the 
Ohio River it is chiefly valuable as an addition to the list of drought- 
resistant, summer-soiling crops and as a crop that will yield a con- 
siderable amount of forage on soil too sterile to grow red clover. The 
commercial value runs from $6 to $20 per ton, being governed by the 
relative abundance of other grades of hay and fodder. Its feeding 
value is equal to that of the best red clover, and the hay ranks high 
in palatability and digestibility. 


When cowpeas are planted for green manure, it is an excellent prac- 
tice to turn hogs into the field about the time that the first peas are 
ripening. Young pigs thrive amazingly on the succulent foliage and 
well-filled pods, and the quality of the pork raised on such a healthful 

cowpeas. 293 

and nutritious diet is very fine. This is a very profitable method of 
fattening hogs or of preparing them for topping off Avith corn or 
sorghum for market. An acre of ripening cowpeas will pasture from 
fifteen to twenty hogs for several weeks, and the gain in fertility 
from the droppings of the animals during that period will more than 
counterbalance the fertilizing value of the forage eaten. The rapid 
increase in weight will thus represent so much clear profit, and the 
farmer is richer by half a ton or more of prime- pork for every acre 
planted. Chickens and turkeys also eat the ripe peas and do well 
upon them. Cattle and horses are sometimes pastured on them, but 
the safer and more economical way of feeding cowpea vines to such 
stock is to cut or pull and feed partially wilted. There will be less 
waste and destruction from trampling, and if each animal is given 
only so much as it can eat clean, the greatest economy as well as 
greatest profit will result. Furthermore, cattle and sheep are liable 
to bloat if allowed to eat too ravenously of cowpea vines or any other 
rich and succulent forage, and by using it as a soiling crop the danger 
may be more readily controlled and the loss prevented. The report has 
been sent out from some of the Northern experiment stations, where 
this forage plant is not ordinarily cultivated, that cattle will not eat 
the green vines except after having been starved to it, and then only 
sparingly. We have seen Western horses and ponies that would not 
touch red clover or a grain ration of oats, and have heard of Eastern 
stock that would not eat alfalfa hay. But these few adverse cases 
do not prove that red clover, alfalfa, and oats are not good forage. 
With the cowpea the case is similar. It is very rarely that any South- 
ern planter reports that this forage is refused by any kind of stock. 


Reports are very conflicting in regard to the value of this crop for 
ensilage. There is much positive testimony both for and against, some 
authorities stating that the quality is excellent and others that the 
vines contain too much water, the product of the fermentation being 
a slimy, foul-smelling mass, unfit for food for any kind of animals. 
From reports on the subject it is to be believed that the attempt to 
convert cowpea vines into good ensilage can not be made with such 
uniform success as in the case of red clover. The percentage of water 
in the tissues is too high, and the mechanical difficulties in the way 
of running a mass of tangled herbage through the feed cutter are too 
great. Special machinery would have to be constructed for the pur- 
pose. Indian corn will probably remain for many years the best all- 
round forage plant for this purpose. The consensus of opinion among 
agricultural workers seems to be that ensilage made from any legume, 
whether it be cowpeas, vetches, soja beans, alfalfa, or the clovers, does 
not equal in feeding value good hay made from the same. Under 


certain conditions that arise in the silo the crude protein is converted 
into indigestible or insoluble nitrogenous compounds. The cowpea 
or clover ensilage is then valuable only for the carbohydrates that it 
contains, and either corn or sorghum is far superior to it. 


The majority of farmers harvest only enough seed of cowpeas to 
plant again the next season. The ripe pods are picked by hand and 
are stored in barrels until needed or are thrashed out by machine or 
with flails on the barn floor during the winter. Sometimes, if the 
crop is heavy enough to render it profitable, the vines are run through 
an ordinary thrashing machine from which the concaves and alternate 
teeth of the cylinder have been removed. But a machine breaks and 
bruises more of the seed than when the pods are first picked off by 
hand. Fully 95 per cent of the seed placed upon the market is 
hand picked. The yield per acre varies according to the varieties and 
the method of cultivation. Eight to twelve bushels is a fair average 
of the amount that can be obtained when the peas are planted in the 
corn rows. Sown alone, broadcast or in drills, yields of from twenty 
to thirty-five and even, in rare cases, fifty bushels are obtained. The 
Black, Unknown, Red Ripper, Clay, and Calico varieties are all heavy 
seed bearers. Lady and White Crowder are good for table use and also 
yield well. The Black-eyed, Red Crowder, and Whip-poor-will or 
Speckled are very widely cultivated and find ready sale. Those which 
make the largest growth of vines for green manure, as a winter soil 
mulch, for hay or soiling are the Unknown, Red Ripper, Southdown, 
and Clay. Whip-poor-will, Black-eyed, White, and Red Crowder 
ripen in from twelve to fourteen weeks, and hence are adapted to 
cultivation farther north than the very late, but ranker growing, 
Unknown, Wonderful, Red Ripper, Black, and Gourd varieties. The 
New Era and Lee ripen seed in from six to seven weeks, and hence are 
the ones to recommend for summer-soiling crops in the upper prairie 
region of the Mississippi Valley or anywhere else that an early matur- 
ing cowpea is required. This is one of the species of cultivated plants 
which is very readily modified by change of habitat. Early and late 
maturing forms may be found of every strain that has been in culti- 
vation for any considerable time. 


The feeding value of cowpea vines is very high, as shown by both 
feeding tests and chemical analyses. As hay the vines are more val- 
uable than fed green for soiling purposes. A comparison with red 
clover and alfalfa is made in the table on the next page, a compila- 
tion x of the averages of a number of analyses from various sources. 

1 Handbook of Experiment Station Work, Appendix, 1893. 

cowpeas. 295 

Feeding value of cowpeas compared with red clover and alfalfa. 

Fresh or air-dry material. 

































Red clover: 









Calculated to water-free substance. 







Green . 

Eed clover 

Green . 


Green . 

Hay ... 



















A study of the percentages here given will show that the green 
vines contain more water, less protein or nitrogenous, muscle-making 
food, and less of the fat-forming crude fibers, fats, and nitrogen-free 
extracts than either the green alfalfa or red clover. The air-dry hay, 
however, contains more protein than either of the others, less fiber, 
more nitrogen-free extracts than the red clover, and more fat than the 
alfalfa. As is the case with leguminous forage plants in general, a 
ration of cowpeas, to be well balanced, requires the addition of some 
coarse fodder, such as corn stover, sorghum, timothy, Bermuda, or 
prairie hay, otherwise a portion of the protein will be wasted. 


It has been found that, as a rule, it does not pay to use high-grade 
commercial fertilizers on cowpeas; this, however, depends a good 
deal on the soil and on what crop is to follow this green manurial one. 
It is usually unprofitable to fertilize with expensive nitrogen, in the 
form either of nitrate of soda or of guano, and even the organic 
nitrogen of cotton-seed meal does not act upon this crop as rapidly 
as upon cotton and the cereals. The nitrogen of the fertilizers seems 
' not to influence the percentage of protein in the crop, and the general 
opinion of agriculturists in the South is that it does not cause a 


sufficient increase in yield of vines to pay the cost. At the Delaware 
Station 160 pounds of muriate of potash per acre doubled the yield of 
vines, and superphosphate produced no effect. At the Georgia Station 
combinations of superphosphate and potash gave the best results, but 
later experiments there indicated that large amounts of potash are 
unprofitable, and that superphosphate at the rate of from 200 to 400 
pounds per acre gave better results. Superphosphates are very much 
preferable to untreated rock phosphate. The latter can be sold at 
much lower rates, and it remains to be seen whether it would not be 
a profitable method to apply the soft phosphate to the cowpeas for the 
benefit of the succeeding crop in the rotation, for it has been found 
that the insoluble phosphoric acid of the untreated rock becomes 
changed to forms available as plant food in the presence of large 
amounts of decaying vegetable matter in the soil. If it is found that 
this process can be relied upon, then the cowpea will have another 
valuable quality added to it, namety, that of being able to change 
into high-grade and more costly superphosphate the low-grade and 
cheap but unavailable phosphoric acid of the untreated rock. 

The chief functions of this crop, then, are to furnish large amounts 
of nitrogen abstracted from the air and fixed in the roots and stubble 
in a conveniently available form for the use of succeeding crops; sec- 
ond, to produce a large yield of vines and peas rich in digestible pro- 
tein, which, either as hay or for soiling purposes, will take the place of 
concentrated nitrogenous foods; and, third, to supply humus, which 
acts directly and indirectly to produce fertility by breaking down and 
rendering available the basic minerals of the soil. The fertilizing 
value of the nitrogen in the vines is entirely dissipated or greatly di- 
minished by weathering when they are left on the surface of the field 
during the winter. Hence, to secure the full value, the cowpeas should 
be fed and the stable manure returned to the field. If the vines are 
plowed under in autumn, a winter forage crop, such as winter oats, 
crimson clover, rye, or vetches, should be planted to prevent the 
leaching and washing action of the winter rains. 


By L. H. Bailey, 

Professor of Horticulture at Cornell University and Horticulturist of the New York 

{Cornell) Experiment Station. 


It is a popular subject, this evolution and amelioration of our native 
fruits. Everyone is convinced that there is promise in these fruits, 
and writers are always demanding that some person other than them- 
selves shall take up the improvement of them. Now, the chief reason 
for supposing that these fruits should be domesticated seems to be the 
most obvious fact that they have merit in themselves; and yet, para- 
doxical as it may be, this is not sufficient reason to recommend their 
amelioration. It is not the thing which is intrinsically the best that 
necessarily deserves the most attention, but the thing which is most 
needed. We shall find our most helpful suggestions from a reflection 
upon what has been accomplished and how it has been done, rather 
than froin a mere objective study of the kinds of our wild fruits. It 
is proposed, therefore, to divide this article into two parts: (1) What 
has been done, and (2) what probably should be done. 


The most obvious truth that strikes one when he attempts to make 
a reflective or historical study of the improvement of our native fruits 
is the fact that in nearly every case the amelioration has come from 
the force of circumstances and not from the choice or design of men. 
The colonists, in common with other good people, knew and loved 
wine. The beverage has been a hand to hand (or more truthfully a 
hand to mouth) companion of the human family from the first. The 
attempt was therefore early and heroically made to grow the European 
or wine grape in eastern America; but the attempt failed. In sheer 
distress of failure, the grape grower was driven to the use of the native 
grape. How literally true this was the reader may learn by reading 
the history of the grape colony of the Dufours in Kentucky, and then 
in Indiana late in the last century and early in this, and noticing the 
fact that the existence of the colony as such depended upon the suc- 
cess of the wine. The salvation of the colony was the Alexander, or 
Gape, grape, which, in a most surreptitious way, had transferred itself 
from the wild into the plantations which were at first designed to grow 
the European varieties; and later on, John Adlum's famous Catawba, 



a product of the Carolina highlands, added the crowning glory and 
success to the experiment, and thence spread itself along the Ohio 
and over the Union. At the very time that the Alexander and the 
Catawba were driving out the Old World types, the grape growers 
were making a most determined opposition to the native grapes. 
The fact is that the native grapes, the types which we now cultivate, 
came into domestication in spite of us. 

The native plums, of which several hundred horticultural varieties 
are now described, came into domestication because the Old World 
plums, with which we are chiefly familiar in the Northeastern States, 
will not thrive in the prairie States or the South. The cultivated 
native plums had been widely disseminated before horticultural 
annalists discovered the fact; and there is no evidence that the early 
introducers of them had any suspicion that they were making history 
when they planted them. These plums were, no doubt, looked upon 
as a makeshift in a new country, as a fruit which was better than none 
when the good could not be had. 

The reason why the native raspberries came into cultivation was 
because the European species is tender in our climate and demands 
too much care and petting to make it succeed. The native types of 
gooseberries drove out the foreign ones because the latter were inju- 
riously infested with the mildew. The native crab apples are now 
demanding attention where the climate is so severe that the cultivated 
apple can not thrive. The wild red mulberry has been improved 
because the Old World black mulberry is tender, and we have been 
so ignorant of the fact that we have all along supposed that these 
natives are forms of the Old World species. The Chilean strawberry — 
the foundation stock of our commercial varieties — brought itself into 
domestication while men were bent upon impressing the Virginian 
berry into service, and many of our writers still insist on calling the 
common garden strawberries descendants of the latter species, so 
ignorant are they of the true course of the evolution. 

The obverse of this picture is likewise instructive in showing how 
difficult it is to introduce and to improve fruits which are not forced 
upon us. For a century or more the native nuts have attracted the 
attention of economic writers. Their merits for food have been 
praised without stint for years and years. Within the last twelve 
months two nut-culture books have been written. Yet, they have 
made very little progress toward amelioration. The simple reason is 
that we have not been pressed by any necessity to grow them. None 
of the nuts are staple articles of food among the peoples who have 
chiefly settled the United States. They are essentially subsidiary and 
incidental features in our lives. So, while we all like hickory nuts 
and walnuts, we are nevertheless not impelled by any overmastering 
necessity to gather the trees into the garden or the orchard. We asso- 
ciate them more with the woods and the landscape and the outings 


than we do with the kitchen and the larder. They have no conspicu- 
ous places in our heritage of custom and association, as the apples 
and grapes and berries have. 

Much the same observation could be made respecting the native 
huckleberries, fruits which have been recommended time and again 
as proper subjects for amelioration, and yet practically nothing has 
been done toward their improvement. The chief reason of this neg- 
lect seems to be that the imperative needs which the huckleberries 
may be supposed to satisfy are already supplied in large measure by 
other berry-like fruits. 

There are apparent exceptions to all this in the cranberry and 
blackberry, for neither of these fruits has ever before been an impor- 
tant food for the human race. Yet, the very abundance of these fruits 
and their adaptability to the common needs of life forced them on 
the attention of the settler and colonist. It was but natural that, 
as the wild areas became constricted, attempts should be made to 
grow the plants. 

The minor small fruits which have recently come into notice from 
the West have been chiefly impressed into domestication because of 
the comparative scarcity of domestic fruits in the regions whence they 
come. Some of these are the buffalo berry, the dwarf juneberry, 
the Crandall currant type, and the dwarf cherries and plums. 

While the fact has been that the reigning types of improved native 
fruits have come into cultivation largely as a result of the force of con- 
ditions rather than as a direct or designed choice on the part of man, 
it nevertheless does not follow that an intelligent choice of species 
has not played an important part in the evolution, and that it may 
not count for still more in the years to come. Yet, the student should 
bear in mind the fact that all the most needful types of native fruits 
have now been impressed into cultivation, and that those which yet 
remain in an almost wholly unimproved condition, as many of the nuts, 
the elderberries, the Asimina, and others, will come into cultivation, 
if at all, only through the expenditure of great effort to make their 
merits and possibilities known. Prom now on the attempt to intro- 
duce new types of native fruits must be, broadly speaking, a forced 
effort. But if this is true, it does not follow that our efforts at amel- 
ioration should cease, but rather that the most promising and most 
useful expenditure of energy is to be found in still further improving 
the species which are already thoroughly established in cultivation. 
None of these types are yet, and in fact never will be, brought to 
that condition when they may be said to be good enough; and this 
conclusion, while apparently the only logical one, is one which does 
not seem to have been reached by writers upon the improvement of 
our native fruits. The tendency of our writers has always been, 
unfortunately, to urge the importance of undeveloped species, forget- 
ting that the really important things are the ones which we already 


have, and all of which are far from perfect. The whole Question, 
then, is simply that of the best methods of improving fruits in gen- 
eral without respect to their nativity. 

Having now seen that new types of plants are impressed into cul- 
tivation largely because they are needed, and in an undesigned or 
almost fortuitous way, let us ask how these particular domestic fruits 
which are native to North America have been ameliorated. The 
process has been a most simple one : Attractive varieties, or forms, 
have been found, and men have transferred them to the garden. 
This, in essence, has been the method of the amelioration of most 
domestic plants. It is first the discovery of a good form, and then 
the perpetuation of it. What has been called plant breeding is mostly 
discovery, or, in other words, so far as the cultivator is concerned, it 
is accident. In one place, an attractive wild blackberry is found. 
The bush is taken to the garden, and it is called, after the name of 
the town, the Dorchester. In another place, another form is discov- 
ered, and this, when transplanted, becomes known as the Lawton or 
New Rochelle. Another form is found upon the prairie and is called 
Western Triumph. Now and then one comes up about an old plan- 
tation and is similarly cared for; occasionally a man sows seeds and 
picks out a good variety from the seedlings; still more rarely a man 
keeps a record of the parentage of the seed he sows; and very, very 
rarely one makes crosses and sows the seeds therefrom. 

But, while the new varieties are mostly discoveries, it does not 
follow that there is no skill represented in novelties. The skill is 
expressed in giving the plants the very best of care when once they 
have been transferred to the garden, and the force of this domestica- 
tion is likely to express itself in better or more tractable offspring in 
each generation. While the tendency toward betterment is constantly 
augmented by the habitual selection of the best new forms, that tend- 
ency could be much more rapidly hastened if, in addition to selecting 
the best seedlings which chance to appear, the operator should also 
select the seeds from the best plants with which to raise the seedlings. 

It is interesting to recall how a few prominent varieties of native 
fruits have originated. The old Alexander, or Cape, grape, which first 
introduced a successful viticulture into eastern America, was found 
wild in the woods of Pennsylvania in the last century. The Catawba, 
which is still a popular commercial variety, was found in the woods in 
South Carolina in 1802. There are, no doubt, as good forms of the 
native fox grape in the woods now as there were then, but we have 
now obtained a start in grape growing and we are no longer looking to 
the wild for our varieties. The fox grape is known to be widely vari- 
able in its wild state, and the author has this year obtained no less 
than a half dozen types of large and handsome wild fruits of it, vary- 
ing from deep purple to amber red. The Concord was a chance seed- 
ling in a Massachusetts garden, and it is supposed to have sprung 


from a seed of the wild fox grape of the neighborhood. The "Worden 
was raised from a seed of the Concord. The Delaware was found in 
the garden of a Frenchman in New Jersey, about fifty years ago, but its 
genesis is wholly unknown. It is probably a product of an accidental 
cross between the European grape which the Frenchman cultivated 
and some variety of native grape. The Brighton is the product of a 
hand cross made between the Concord and the Diana-Hamburg (the 
latter itself a hybrid) by Jacob Moore, then of Brighton, N. Y. The 
Diana, which was a prominent variety for many years, was grown from 
a Catawba seed in Milton, Mass. Moore Early was grown from a seed 
of the Concord. The Clinton came up where a handful of grape seed 
had been sown at Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., and the old vine, 
now about 75 years old, is still growing on College Hill. The Nor- 
ton Virginia was found wild in 1835, near Richmond, Va. The Isa- 
bella was brought into the North early in the century. Its origin is 
wholly unknown and has been the subject of much speculation. The 
botanical evidence shows that it is probably a native form of the 
Southern fox grape. 

All these specific illustrations of the origin of varieties are fairly 
typical for all native fruits. Most of the forms are random or chance 
discoveries, and they show that the natural tendency toward pro- 
gressive variation in the indigenous fruit species must be great, else 
the domesticated forms could not have reached their present state. 
If so much has been done by mere chance, so far as the horticulturist 
is concerned, there is certainly reason for believing that the rewards 
of plant breeding must some day be great. 


What has been done need not be done over again. That is, the best 
results in the amelioration of any species are to be expected by work- 
ing with the highly improved forms rather than with the original 
wild stock. The quickest response to the plant breeder is to be 
expected in those species which are already most ameliorated, and it 
is in these species, also, that the greatest efforts are needed, because 
they are the species which have the most useful qualities for man. 
One can not specify how the native fruits may be improved without 
going into the whole subject of the amelioration of plants, 1 but it may 
be useful to designate some of the things which seem necessary to be 

In the first place, we need more varieties of every native fruit now 
cultivated — of grapes, raspberries, plums, cranberries, and the rest. 
This is because new needs are always arising and the fruits are being 
grown in new regions, and new varieties are needed to adapt the spe- 
cies to these new wants. Those persons who are looking for the 

'This subject is fully discussed in Plant Breeding, by L. H. Bailey. 


coming of the perfect all-around variety are behind the time and are 
constantly getting further behind, for it is becoming more and more 
apparent that it is impossible to combine all the varied and contradict- 
ory specific desires of men into one plant form. There must be a best 
variety for every particular use and locality and soil. The cosmopol- 
itan variety must become more and more restricted in range and use- 
fulness as time goes on and as more refined and specific needs arise. 
People are always saying that we already have too many varieties, 
and an effort is being made to reduce the number. Even the experi- 
menters in the stations usually conceive it to be a part of their duty 
to endeavor to reduce the number of varieties; but what they are really 
doing, or might be doing, is determining the merits of varieties for 
specific uses. If a given variety does not satisfy the ideal of the 
experimenter, that fact is no proof that it may not satisfy the ideal 
of someone else, or that it may not be a positive acquisition in some 
other place or for some other purpose. We shall always need to test 
varieties, to be sure, and the testing must be the more exact and per- 
sonal the more critical we become in our demands. It is out of the 
many new varieties that we shall find the particular ones which we 
ourselves desire. 

In the second place, we need a greater range of variation — more 
divergent and widely unlike varieties. These can be had by select- 
ing out of the annually recurring batches of new varieties those which 
are most unlike the existing types, provided, of course, they are worthy 
to be perpetuated. But they can be most surely obtained by raising 
seedlings from the most unlike types and by the crossing of various 

In the third place, we need to secure more incidental or minor 
strains of the most popular and cosmopolitan varieties. The Concord 
grape, for example, is a most virile and useful type, and minor varie- 
ties of it, even if they were still called Concord, might adapt the 
variety more completely to some particular purpose or locality. In 
many districts, for example, a Concord a week earlier or a week later 
than the standard variety might be more useful than a variety wholly 
new in kind. This class of facts is introduced to show that, while we 
need more varied types in our native fruits, wo also need to increase 
the usefulness of regnant types by inducing secondary variations in 
them. There are two means of securing these variations. The surest 
means is to take cuttings or buds from those particular plants in our 
plantation which most nearly fit our purposes. In almost every large 
Concord vineyard, for example, there are some vines which are earlier 
or later, more or less productive, or otherwise different from the type. 
In many cases the cuttings will perpetuate these differences. The 
second means of securing these incidental forms is by crossing between 
plants of the same variety. The writer is convinced that this type of 
plant breeding is, in general, quite as useful as that of crossing unlike 


varieties; and after a wide range of variation lias been secured and 
•when men's ideals have become critical through education and 
business competition it will be the more promising field. 

In the fourth place, it should be said that the greatest effort should 
be made to preserve or intensify those desirable attributes which are 
characteristic of the wild species. Such attributes are likely to be 
more virile and permanent than similar ones which originate under 
domestication, because they have been impressed upon the species for 
a longer period of time. The intending plant breeder can save him- 
self much time and strength by throwing his own efforts into line with 
the direction of evolution of the speeies rather than against it. He 
can not afford even to be indifferent to the natural capacities of the 
type. For example, other things being equal, the domestieator will 
generally find better results in breeding plants for a dry region by 
selecting those types which naturally grow in sueh regions. The 
adapting of the grape to limestone soils can no doubt be more quickly 
accomplished by endeavoring to breed up acceptable varieties from 
Vitis terlandieri, whieh thrives in these lands, than by attempting 
to overcome the pronounced antipathies of the Vitis labrusca types to 
such soils. The first attempt in impressing new fruit species into 
cultivation should be to secure a type which will thrive in the given 
region; the production of ameliorated varieties is a secondary and 
usually a much simpler matter. The first consideration in breeding 
plums for the dry plains regions, for example, is to secure a type 
which will endure the climate — the long droughts, the severe winters, 
and the hot summers. This fundamental desideratum should be 
looked for in the indigenous plums rather than in the domestic types. 
One of the most promising lines of effort in the improving of the 
native fruits is to work with the species which are indigenous to the 
locality, if they possess coveted features and if they are naturally 

All this means, as has been said, that there should be a general 
improvement all along the lino in our native fruits, the same as there 
should be in any other fruits; and the greatest improvement is needed 
in those very types which are already most improved. In other words, 
we need more to augment the amelioration of types already domesti- 
cated than to introduce wholly new types, although this latter enter- 
prise is also of the greatest importance. The new types may be 
expected to come into use as the demand for them arises, and they 
will come in gradually, and obscurely at first, as the other types have. 

The grape, in the estimation of the writer, needs the first and the 
greatest attention. The types which we grow are still much inferior 
to the Old World types. Our commercial varieties, like the Concord, 
Worden, Catawba, Niagara, Norton Virginia, are generalized types, 
and the market is now overrun with general-purpose grapes. We shall 
soon be driven into specializations in grapes, as people have in older 


countries, and special varieties will then be needed. Aside from the 
further improvement of the domesticated native species, we are now 
being driven, by the settlement of the South and West, to the improve- 
ment of other species, as Vitis lincecumii, Vitis champini, and the 

The second greatest need is in the development of our native plum 
flora; the third is in the further evolution of the brambles, like the 
raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries; the fourth in the amalga- 
mation of the "Western crab apples with the domestic apples, for the 
plains and the Northwest. Beyond these four emphatic needs, it is 
belie ved there are none which stand out clearly and unmistakably above 
all others, although there are a score of native fruit types which are 
crying out for attention. Among them may be mentioned the chest- 
nuts, pecans, gooseberries, currants, cranberries, huckleberries, june- 
berries, cherries, mulberries, elderberries, and all the tribes of hickory 
nuts and walnuts. 

The stimulus of the improvement will be found in the increasing 
demands made by a high civilization, and the actual work of improve- 
ment will be done by a few patient souls whose love of the work far 
outruns all desire for applause or pecuniary reward. 


By Gilbert H. Hicks and John C. Dabney, 
First Assistant Botanist and Assistant, Division of Botany, U. S. Department of 



No farm practice yields more beneficial results than the careful and 
intelligent selection of seed for sowing. The planter who raises a 
special crop like tobacco, cotton, wheat, or corn usually looks care- 
fully to the quality of his seed, while the truck farmer is even more 
particular in this respect, paying a very high price for the best obtain- 
able article. Nevertheless, it is true that in general practice, espe- 
cially in the case of garden and forage plants, there is frequently very 
slight attention given to the real worth of the seed used for plant- 
ing, and not infrequently the grower sells his marketable alfalfa or 
clover seed, for instance, and reserves the remainder, consisting pos- 
sibly of screenings, for his own use. The folly of such a proceeding 
can not be too strongly condemned. Weak or otherwise inferior seed, 
if it comes up at all, often gives rise to sports and new varieties, and 
so far may be valuable for experimental use; only the very best seed, 
however, should be employed in the production of staple crops. Any 
other practice is poor economy. The grades established for clover 
and grass seed, known as " prime," " choice," "extra prime," etc. , take 
into account only its purity, that is, its degree of freedom from chaff 
and dirt, weed seeds, and other foreign matter. The buyer is assured 
in the most general terms (but not guarantied) that the seed he gets 
is "pure, reliable, and true to name," and selected (by the seedsman) 
with "reasonable care." No intimation is given, however, as to the 
proportion which will germinate. It is assumed that any deficiency 
in this respect can be readily overcome by sowing an extra amount. 
The still more important points as to the origin, size, and weight of 
the stock are seldom taken into account. 

Another serious drawback to the selection of good seed is the com- 
mon practice of waiting until about time for sowing before buying. 
It is then too late to ascertain its origin and history or to test its vital- 
ity, even if the planter had a desire to do so. If the cultivator would 
secure the best possible results from his labor, the seed should be bought 
by sample in the fall or winter before planting. First of all, it should 
be examined for purity, and then a simple home germinating test 
should be conducted. If the sample is pure and of good germinating 
capacity, the purchase may be completed, after which a careful sorting 
should be made preparatory to planting in the spring. 

12 A96 20 305 



The principles governing seed selection depend largely upon the 
kind of seed and the object of the crop, whether size, quality, or earli- 
ness of the latter is most desired. It also makes some difference 
whether the plants are to be grown for forage or seed. Certain cli- 
mates, soils, and fertilizers tend to seed production rather than to 
vegetative development, and a plant may be cultivated and selected 
for its seed-producing capacity until a strain of seed is obtained which 
tends to yield plants possessing similar seed fertility. If quality rather 
than quantity of crop be the object, the selection of seed must follow 
a certain line in order to secure plants of the desired characteristics. 

Seed may be selected according to its origin, color, form (consider- 
ing especially whether it is plump or wrinkled), size, and weight, it 
being taken for granted that the selection shall be made only from 
sound, pure, and germinable stock. It is thought by some that the 
value of seed varies in certain cases according to the part of the plant 
or fruit from which it comes. An experiment made in Georgia with 
cotton showed that the bottom bolls produced seed which gave a 
heavier yield than that from the upper bolls, the yield in the former 
case amounting to 1,043 poimds of seed cotton per acre as compared 
with a yield of 750 pounds in the latter. This was undoubtedly due 
to the fact that the lower bolls contained larger and heavier seed, 
rather than because the seed came from a certain part of the plant. 
Many trials have been made of corn selected from the tips and butts 
of the ears. Sometimes one and sometimes the other kind of kernels 
give the best crop. It is quite likely that this variation results from 
the difference in size and weight of the different kernels taken from the 
same ear. In the case of the parsley, carrot, parsnip, and other um- 
belliferous plants, it is commonly supposed that the central stalk 
produces the best seeds. This may be due to the fact that such seeds 
are frequently larger and heavier than those from the lateral shoots. 

The degree of maturity of seed when harvested is an important 
factor in determining its value. Many experiments have been made 
with immature seed, resulting in the conclusion that such seed pro- 
duces as a general thing smaller and less vigorous plants. Professor 
Goff, of Wisconsin, has shown that by the use of immature tomato 
seed there is also a tendency to increased earliness in the maturity of 
the fruit. By means of continued seed selection, plants may be so 
developed as to show a certain flavor; capability of resisting disease, 
general hardiness, earliness, superior content of sugar, oil, starch, 
gluten, etc. 


The manner of selecting seed varies somewhat with its shape, weight, 
and size. If heavy seed is desired, a salt solution may be used, of such 
density that only seeds of a desired weight will sink to the bottom, 


while all the lighter seed and undesirable matter can be skimmed 
off and rejected. This method is open to several objections, among 
them being the fact that the heavy seeds do not always sink, owing 
to bubbles of air which surround them or to the flat surface which 
some species present. This, however, may be obviated to a slight 
extent by previously boiling the water of which the solution is made. 
Furthermore, unless dried promptly or sown at once, such seeds may 
lose some of their vitality. A better way to obtain heavy seed is 
by making use of the centrifugal principle, applied by running the 
seed through some kind of apparatus which throws the heavier seed 
to a considerable distance, while the lighter seed and chaff drop near 
the machine. By the use of a current of air the same separation may 
be secured, in this case the lightest material being blown away. The 
common method of selecting large seeds is by the use of sieves, either 
by hand or placed in any common fanning mill. 1 

The principal object in using the ordinary fanning mills is elimina- 
tion of chaff and other foreign matter, although some of the lightest 
seed is blown out by the fans. It would pay the farmer when he is 
cleaning up seed for planting to work his seed-cleaning machines in 
such a manner as to blow or screen out a great deal of the light and 
small seed, retaining only the largest and heaviest for planting. 

Seeds are sometimes cleaned and sorted by running them through 
a thin metal cylinder placed in a slightly inclined position. This cyl- 
inder is provided with a series of holes of different shapes and sizes, 
which allow certain seeds to drop through at certain points. Machines 
embodying this principle are used considerably in Europe and to a 
small extent in this country. 

The fact needs emphasis, however, that no system of seed selection 
by mechanical means alone is adequate, although such selection, if 
properly practiced by the agriculturist, would invariably bring him a 
decided gain in the size or quality of his crop. Thorough selection 
must begin with the plant itself. Only those plants should be chosen 
for seed purposes which come the nearest to the type which is to be 
reproduced. Such plants are to be harvested and kept by themselves. 
After their seed is thrashed and cleaned, another and rigid selection, 
based upon size and weight, should be made. 


In the choice of seed the place of its production should receive very 
careful consideration. Much of the failure to secure a desired crop 
of vegetables or forage plants is due to the fact that the buyer of 
such seed usually has no information whatever as to its origin. The 
soil and climate where it was produced may have been very different 

1 See Yearbook of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1894, pp. 406-407, for brief 
description, with figures, of different kinds of screens in use. 


from his own, and the seed be totally unfit for use on this account. A 
great deal of controversy has arisen from time to time over the alleged 
superiority of Northern-grown seed, and many dealers make a great 
point out of the statement that their seed is Northern grown. This 
is. not a question of section alone, nor is it true that Northern-grown 
seed is always superior to that raised in other latitudes. As is well 
known, certain plants thrive better in one locality than in another. 
Plants adapted to Northern climates or high latitudes where the sea- 
sons are short mature more quickly than if grown under different 
conditions, and hence yield a strain of seed which in time tends to 
produce quickly maturing plants. However, such seed frequently 
"runs out" quickly when planted in a different climate and gives 
rise to very different strains from the original stock; hence, a constant 
renewal is necessary to maintain the type desired. In many cases 
by a system of careful cultivation and selection a desired strain 
may be secured and thoroughly acclimated, so that the introduction 
of outside stock becomes tmnecessary. The fact that many kinds of 
imported seed do not produce as good crops as home-grown seed 
of the same variety is to some extent due to a difference of climate. 
The imported seed, while perhaps cheaper in the first instance, owing 
to the less cost of production, may be much dearer in the long run, 
since it is seldom so pure as American-grown seed, and frequently 
gives rise to noxious plants which the buyer neither desires nor 
pays for. 

Soil, as well as climate, impresses seed with a particular character. 
It is not necessarily the most fertile soils which furnish the most pro- 
ductive seeds. If seeds are transferred to a different kind of soil 
from that upon which they were grown, although the climate be the 
same, a marked difference in crop is frequently noted. Experiments 
in growing oats have shown that certain varieties raised on a light 
soil were the most productive if sown on a similar soil, while the same 
varieties of seed if grown on heavy soil showed a preference for heavy 
soil. These facts indicate that, in many cases at least, the farmer 
will get the best results from seed which he has grown himself under 
conditions well known to him. 

The Department of Agriculture frequently receives requests from 
European seedsmen for seed of various kinds raised in a part of the 
United States the climatic and soil conditions of which correspond 
most nearly to those of their own localities, thus showing an apprecia- 
tion of the value of a knowledge of the origin of seed. Most of our 
own seedsmen show a similar interest in knowing where their seed 
was grown. Unfortunately, however, this interest prevails at the 
present time among the buyers of seed only to a very limited extent. 
The farmer should secure from the dealer whenever possible a state- 
ment of the origin of the seed which is offered for sale. Until such 
requests become much more common than they are now, seedsmen 



will continue to offer seed accompanied by no information save its 
name and brief directions for planting. 

Seed should be selected with reference to its ancestry as well as to 
the place and conditions under which it was grown, or its individual 
characteristics. Plants, no less than animals, inherit the qualities of 



\ Ssp'i 















45 — 



40 — 

3S — 

30 — 






zo — 







" / 


J / 

1 *f 







FlO. 74.— Development of soja bean from heavy and light seed: The upper curves represent 
plants from heavy and the lower those from light seed. 

their forerunners, and this applies to seed as well as to the plant taken 
in its entirety, especially if grown for seed alone, as in the case of the 
cereals and some legumes. Unfortunately the ancestry of seed can 
rarely be traced by the purchaser. 


The main purpose of this article is to show in a brief way the advan- 
tage of using only large and heavy seed for planting, and, if possible, 
to establish the principle that it will pay in many cases to buy a larger 
quantity of seed than is to be used, in order that only a larger and 
heavier seed may be selected for planting. 

Fig. 75.— Soja bean, 12071 (heavy compared with light seed): A, planted September 15, 1896, 
photographed October 15, 18%; plants in rear pots from heavy and those in front pots from 
light seed. B, four typical plants photographed at the close of the experiment, the two at left 
from heavy and the two at right from light seed. 


The series of experiments upon which this paper is based were con- 
ducted in a greenhouse by the writers during the winter of 1896-97. 
Seeds of the following plants were employed : Garden peas, beans, soja 
beans, hairy vetch, rye, barley, wheat, and oats, the three first named 
being principally dealt with here. In all cases except that of the hairy 



vetch the seed was of known origin, each variety having come from a 
single lot grown in one place. We consider this fact one of the most 
important conditions of the experiment. In many experiments on 
record of somewhat similar nature no mention is made of the origin 
of the seed, which is generally of the ordinary commercial kind and 
often a mixture of various lots grown under different conditions. 
The results obtained from such seed can not be relied upon. 

The seed was carefully separated into two lots, one of heavy the 
other of light seed, the individual seeds of each lot having approxi- 
mately the same weight. These seeds were planted in pure sand, and 
the plants were given equal amounts of a culture solution which con- 

PiO. 76.— Seedlings from heavy and light seed: I, Vicia faba, 12072. Weights: A, seed, .84V 
gram; plant, 11 grams. B. seed, .389 gram; plant, 6.5 grams. II, Sojahispida, 12071. Weights: 
A, seed, .164 gram; plant, 1.5 grams. B, seed, .120 gram; plant, .7 gram. 

tained all the necessary elements of plant food. They were kept from 
first to last under identically similar conditions so far as possible, 
measurements and photographs being made from time to time. At 
the conclusion of each experiment typical plants from each lot were 
photographed, carefully taken from the soil, weighed, and measured. 


The table following shows the comparative growth of soja beans 
from heavy and light seed. The seed used in this experiment was 
raised at the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station. It was 
planted September 15, 1896, and harvested December 12, a growing 
period of eighty-eight days. 


Development of soja bean from heavy and light seed. 


Number of plant. 

Weight, i 







ter of 







































































16 -. 























1 The weights in parentheses are air dry, the others fresh. 

A reference to the table shows that the heavy seed (lot a) weighed 
over twice as much as the light (lot 5), and the resulting plants 
weighed nearly twice as much in the former case as in the latter. 

The development of the soja beans was retarded for a couple of 
weeks by unavoidable lowering of the temperature in the greenhouse. 
Afterwards the growth was uninterrupted and the plants at all times 
were healthy, although the usual somewhat bushy habit of similar 
plants in the field was not attained. No root tubercles were devel- 
oped, with the exception of a few on No. 12. The experiment was 
closed at a time when the plants were in the best condition for for- 
age or green manure, that is, about the time of flowering. It is not 
known, however, whether this degree of difference would have been 



maintained in the open field. Hellriegel claims that the difference 
between mature plants from large and small seed is greater in im- 
poverished soil than in that which is richly supplied with food 
material. The difficulty of absolutely controlling the conditions of 



















98 — ; 

— - '* 


— * * 

— . 

- — - 













5 35-. 
32. \ 

, 27- 

Fia. 77.— Development of Extra Early Alaska peas from heavy and light seed: The stars show 
when the pods were ready for the table; the upper curves represent plants from heavy seed 
and the lower curves plants from light seed. 

plants in the field makes results from such experiments somewhat 
uncertain. Although no organized food was furnished to the soja 
beans in this experiment, an abundant amount of all the elements 
necessary to plant growth was constantly given them. The plants of 


each lot were treated alike and the results obtained hold perfectly 
good for comparison, although the greenhouse conditions were not as 
favorable as could have been wished and the total development was 
much smaller than it would have been in the open field, where it is 
believed a greater difference would have been shown in the result. 

It has also been stated by Hellriegel that the differences in plants 
grown from large and small (in this case equivalent to heavy and 
light) seed are most apparent in their earlier stages, growing less 
marked toward maturity. He further claims that a greater difference 
at maturity is visible in plants grown in quartz-sand cultures than in 
those grown in garden soil. The curves shown in fig. 74 are of great 
interest as bearing on this point. It will be noticed that, while the 
two plants of each lot maintained an approximately equal growth 
throughout the experiment, during the early seedling stage — that is, 
for the first week from the time of planting — the plants from both 
heavy and light seed showed nearly the same degree of development. 
From this period the growth of the two lots began to deviate consid- 
erably, reaching its widest divergence at the close of the experiment. 
Fig. 75 is taken from photographs, one made thirty days from the time 
of planting and the other at the close of the experiment. In both 
cases a striking difference is shown in the development of the plants 
from the two kinds of seed. The difference between seedlings of soja 
beans from heavy and light seed is seen in fig. 76, II, which represents 
a typical seedling from a lot of heavy and another from light seed. 
The difference in development is equally apparent in roots, stems, and 
leaves. A study of the individual plants (see table, p. 312) shows that 
each plant (fresh) in lot b was lighter than any of lot a, excepting No. 
17. In this case the large weight is unaccountable. The pot in which 
this plant grew proved to be less porous and hence more retentive of 
moisture than any of the rest, and to this fact some of the extra vigor 
may have been due. Plant No. 16, from some unknown cause, showed 
a retarded development from the first, and was lightest at the close of 
the experiment. However, the extra development of one plant is 
nearly offset by the weakness of the other, and the average result is 
only slightly affected, although the difference in favor of the heavy 
seed would have been more marked if these plants had not been 
taken into account. It will be observed that while the weight of each 
plant is not exactly proportional to that of the seed, there is an 
unmistakable average proportion maintained in considering the total 
of each lot. 

Plants from the heavier seed were greater not only in weight, but also 
in length, in number of leaves, and in diameter of stem. Although 
the average root length was greater in the soja beans grown from light 
seed, the total root development was much less. The advantage to the 
heavy seed plants in possessing a greater root development is evi- 
dent in the fact that such plants have so many more absorbing organs 



for taking up the food elements of the soil. Another great advan- 
tage, especially while in the seedling stage, is in the better soil grasp 
afforded to such plants, giving them a firmer hold at a period when 
the wind or other unfavorable circumstance is most likely to uproot 
them or lay bare their roots. The greater stem diameter is correlated 
with a larger number of tubes (vascular bundles) for pumping up the 
nourishment to various portions of the plant. The larger leaf sur- 
face secures greater transpiration and consequently a more rapid food 
supply, as well as a greater capacity for transforming the raw food 
materials into the organized substances necessary for growth. 


In selecting heavy peas for seed the same advantages were attained 
as in the case of the soja bean, with the addition of a very important 
factor— increased earliness. The seed used in this experiment was 
grown on the Department grounds, under conditions of soil as nearly 
identical as possible. The following table gives the result of the 

Development of Extra Early Alaska peas from heavy and light seed. 




u . 


Size of pods 








of plant. 









' a 








Q O 




















































































- 2 











Total. . 
































Note.— The weights are air dry in grams ; the measurements in millimeters. Five seeds were 
used in each lot, but the flowers of the fifth plant of lot a were not fertile; hence, this plant is 
not used in the table. One plant was rejected from lot b to make the results comparable. 

As will be seen by referring to the table, the peas from the heavier 
seed made a better growth in every way than those from the light 


seed. The seed used in lot a was two and one-half times as heavy as 
that in lot b, while the air-dry plants from the heavy seed weighed 
two and one-fifth times as much as those fi-om the light seed. Thus, 
it is seen that nearly the same ratio of difference obtains in the total 
crop as in the seed used for planting. The flowers in lot a began to 
blossom four days earlier, on the average, than the others, and pro- 
duced the first marketable peas four days earlier. (See fig. 77.) As 

a crop, the pods on 
plants raised from 
large seed were ready 
for table use from five 
to six days earlier than 
those on the plants 
produced from small 
seed. This advantage 
held good for all the 
plants in the experi- 

The ability to mar- 
ket a crop of peas from 
four to six days earlier 
than otherwise possi- 
ble by merely selecting 
the heavier seed for 
planting would be of 
very great value to the 
truck gardener and 
would involve a gain 
throughout the coun- 
try of thousands of 
dollars for those en- 
gaged in this industry. 
No one quality is more 
sought by the trucker 
than earliness, and 
from a financial point 
of view this is the 
most valuable charac- 
teristic attainable in 
A difference of six 

Pig. 78.— Peas, Extra Early Alaska, from heavy and light seed : 
Plants at the left are from heavy and those at the right from 
light seed. 

the production of many kinds of vegetables. 
days in the maturing of peas is almost equivalent to a difference of 
100 miles of latitude. While it is true that as great a difference in 
earliness might not always obtain in general practice, the experiments 
conducted show conclusively that similar selection of heavy seed peas 
is worthy of the attention of truck gardeners, and especially of seeds- 
men who are desirous of originating extra-early varieties. 



The use of the larger or heavier peas, however, resulted in an increase 
of crop as well as in earliness. (See table, on page 315, and fig. 78.) 
There were more blossoms and marketable pods on the plants from 
heavy seed than on those from light seed. Furthermore, the weight of 
the air-dry fruit (pods and peas together) was nearly doubled by the 
use of the larger seeds. An examination of the soja bean showed that 
the difference in weight in the fresh state between plants from heavy 
or light seed was considerably greater than when the same were air- 

Fig. 79.— Beans, Extra. Early Eed Valentine, 11469, large compared with small seed: A, planted 
September 16, 1896, photographed September 30, 1896 ; plants in rear pots from large and those 
in front pots from small seed. B, four typical plants photographed at close of experiment. 

dried; hence it is not unlikely that if the peas had been weighed 
green — that is, as they would have gone to market — the advantage of - 
the use of the heavy seed would have been still more striking. 


An experiment conducted with Extra Early Red Valentine beans 
indicated a similar advantage in increasing the earliness by the use of 


heavy seed. These plants maintained a marked difference in develop- 
ment from the first. Fig. 79, A, represents their condition two weeks 
after the seeds were planted. Every plant excepting one from the 
heavy seed showed a marked increase in size over the plants from 
light seed at the time this photograph was taken. This difference was 
maintained until the close of the experiment. (See fig. 79, B.) The 
difference in vigor was shown also in the greater diameter of the stems, 
which averaged five-tenths of a millimeter more in each plant in lot 
a than in those in lot 6. 

We are aware that there is a common belief that weak seeds tend 
to produce earlier fruiting plants than seeds which are more vigorous, 
but our experiments gave decisive indications that the contrary is 
true, at least in some cases. 

Fig. 80.— Boot development of plants grown from heavy and light seed: I, beans, Extra Early 
Bed Valentine; II, peas, Extra Early Alaska. The two roots at the right in each case are from 
heavy and the two at the left in each case are from light seed. 


The increase in the root development of plants resulting from the 
use of heavy seed is well indicated in fig. 80, 1, which shows the fresh 
roots of four typical plants of the Red Valentine beans used in the 
experiment discussed above. The weights were as follows: Fresh 
roots of plants from large seed, 9 and 17.7 grams, respectively; of 
plants from small seed, 4.1 and 4.5 grams, respectively. 

Not only in weight, but also in length and number, were the roots 
from heavy seed greater than those from light seed. Neither length 
nor number of the main roots is of as great importance, however, 
as the total weight, which indicates not only a greater individual 
diameter, but also — and this is of much more significance — a vastly 
larger number of little rootlets and root hairs for absorbing food from 



the soil. The weight of the fresh roots from both lots of beans was 
directly proportional to the weight of the seed, being nearly twice as 
great in lot a from heavy seed as in lot b. The comparative devel- 

Fig. 81.— Early development of barley from heavy and light seed: Barley, Salzer's, 13093. 
Planted September 30, 1896, photographed October 14, 1896. Seedlings weighed as follows: A, 
39.5 grams; B, 315 grams; C, 29 grams; D, 23 grams. Fifty seeds were planted in each lot, 
Weighing as follows: A, 2.522 grams; B, 2.146 grams; C, 1.496 grams; D, .957 gram. Typical 
seeds from each lot are shown natural size. 

opment of roots grown in the same soil and under other similar con- 
ditions can not alone be taken as the index of a plant's vigor, but it 
goes a long way in this direction. 


The roots of the peas were not weighed fresh, but when air dried 
those from the heavy seed averaged 2.27 grams to 0.77 gram in the case 
of those from the light seed, the seeds averaging 0.260 gram in the 
former ease and 0.103 in the latter. (See table, on page 315.) In 

PiQ. 82.— Early development of radish from heavy as compared with light seed: Eadish, Early 
Long Scarlet, 11256. Planted October 16, 1896, photographed November 5, 1896. Fifty-eight 
seedlings of each lot weighed November 9, as follows: A, 49.5 grams; B, 31.5 grams. Typical 
seeds are shown natural size; A, 100 weighed 1.770 grams; B, 100 weighed 1.037 grams. 

other words, the seeds of lot a were two and five-tenths and the roots 
of lot a two and nine-tenths as heavy as the corresponding seeds and 
roots from lot b. This difference is strikingly shown in the roots of 
four typical plants represented in fig. 80, II. 

# • •# © # # #@ % » ee ### + •• 

# # •< 

m • # 

Fig. 83.— Early development of kafir corn from heavy and light seed : Bed kaflr corn, 11704. 
Planted October 16, 1896, photographed November 20, 1896. Forty seven seedlings of each lot 
weighed as follows: A, 22 grams; B, 13 grams. One hundred seeds were planted in each lot, 
weighing as follows: A, 3.398 grams; B, 1.741 grams. 


Planters frequently experience difficulty in obtaining a good stand 
of grain and other crops. Sometimes the seed comes up very unevenly, 
either leaving certain portions of the field bare or producing plants of 



unequal height and vigor. The weaker plants, if they grow to ma- 
turity, produce a smaller crop of forage and fruit than those which 
had an early and better start. Furthermore, the value of the crop is 
greatly lessened owing to the larger proportion of light seeds and 
screenings which are rejected when it is offered for sale. Frequently 
the extra labor and expense of harvesting portions of the crop at dif- 
ferent times are made necessary. 

A still more serious drawback results from the fact that many weak 
plants perish in the seedling stage. If any of the seeds are lacking 
in vigor, even though they may germinate, a sudden change in tem- 
perature, or a prolonged drought, or a slight frost is apt to destroy the 
plants while in their young and tender condition. 

Insufficient attention has been paid to the fact that different seeds, 
even of the same variety and lot, possess an unequal vigor, which shows 
itself in the plants produced. It should therefore be the aim of the 
planter to so select his seed that both vigor and uniformity may be 

In order to compare the germinative power and stand of plants 
grown from heavy and light seed, a series of experiments was con- 
ducted in the greenhouse, in well-drained shallow boxes (greenhouse 
"flats") filled with sand, cleaned and sifted. The seeds were first 
sorted by means of sieves into different sizes and then counted out 
in lots of 50 to 100, only sound seeds being taken. They were 
next weighed, photographed (natural size), and planted, both the 
heavy and light seed being in the same box. All the seeds of a single 
variety were covered with the same depth of sand and were kept 
under similar conditions throughout the experiment. Equal amounts 
of the same food solution were given them from time to time. A 
record was also kept of the germination. At the close of the experi- 
ment, which ceased before the plants had grown beyond the seedling 
stage, they were photographed, then taken out of the sand, cleaned 
and weighed while still fresh. Radish, amber cane, red kafir corn, 
barley, sweet pea, winter vetch, oats, and rye were used in this exper- 
iment. The differences in the comparative size of the seeds and seed- 
lings is illustrated by figs. 81, 82, and 83, taken from photographs. 
The results of the experiments are given in the following table : 

Experiments with lieavy and light seeds. 

Name of variety. 

No. of 
seeds in 
each lot. 

of seeds. 


Number of 


weighed in 

each lot. 


of days of 



of seed- 

Badish, Early Long Scarlet. 
Cane, Early Amber 

12 A96 21 


A 1. 770 
B 1.037 
A 2.411 
B 1.360 

A 73 
B 84 
A 43 

A 49.5 
A 23.5 


Experiments with heavy and light seeds— Continued. 

Name of variety. 

No. of 
seeds in 
each lot. 


of seeds. 

Number of 


weighed in 

each lot. 

of days of 

of seed- 

Kafir Corn, Red - 

Vetch, Winter 

Sweet Pea, Her Majesty 

Bye, University of Minnesota, No. 2 

Oats, White Wonder .-... 

Barley, Salzer's 


A 3.298 
B 1.741 
A 4.077 
B 2.099 
A C.092 
C 4.045 
A 1.105 
B .745 
A 1.298 
B .805 
A 2.522 
B 2.146 
C 1.496 
D .957 

' Not re- 








of each 


A 22.0 
A 33.0 
A 34. 5 
A 37.2 
A 39.5 
C 29.0 
D 23.0 

Note.— A, heavy seed or seedlings; B, lighter than A; C, lighter than B ; D, lighter than C. 

As will be noticed by a study of this table, there was in every 
instance a marked increase in the weight of the seedlings from the 
heavier seed which was closely proportionate to the difference between 
the weight of the seed. The experiments were too limited in number 
to warrant any conclusion concerning the difference, if any, in the 
germinability of the heavy and light seed, either as to. the time the 
sprouts appeared or the number produced. In the various experi- 
ments some of the plants were used for other purposes and could not 
be weighed. The number of seedlings taken into account in the dif- 
ferent lots of each variety was the same, so that the results are per- 
fectly comparable. The seedlings from heavy seeds always showed 
more vigor than those from the lighter seeds, and there seems no 
doubt that this superiority would have been maintained to a consid- 
erable extent in the field. Of the barley, four different sizes and 
weights were taken and a corresponding gradation was noted in the 
seedlings therefrom. 

Owing to a lack of facilities, these experiments were not conducted 
on a field scale, but numerous investigators both in this country and 
Europe have found that heavy seed wheat, oats, etc., produce heavier 
crops in the field than lighter seed of the same variety sown under 
similar conditions; and there seems no room for doubt that, in the 
majority of instances at least, the selection of large or heavy seed 
will amply repay the planter for all the extra time, labor, and money 


By Charles A. Keffer, 
Assistant Chief, Division of Forestry, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


This article is purposely confined to the treatment of limited areas 
of land rather than the planting of waste lands in general, because it 
is thought that there are very few farms in the United States in which 
such limited areas do not occur, for the planting of which practical 
suggestions may be given, while for the larger operations of exten- 
sive wastes — such as dunes, sand hills, and deforested mountain 
lands — the methods of technical forestry are more applicable. 

In the most favored region the farm " of which every foot is arable " 
is seldom seen. Even on the richest of prairie farms the crests of the 
rolling surface are apt to become impoverished after years of tillage, 
in spite of the best efforts of the farmer, and when the crops fail to 
pay for the labor expended on them the land is as surely "waste" 
as though it were undrained swamp or rocky hillside. In the less 
densely populated parts of the country, where land is cheap, the 
fields are abandoned when this stage is reached. In the East and 
South, that is, within the forest area, where the entire country was 
once covered with forest, natural reforestation soon takes place, and 
in a few years the old fields are clothed with pines, spruces, and decid- 
uous trees, the varieties being dependent upon the adjacent growth. 
Within this area the farmer can always control the character of the 
forest growths on the waste lands of his farm, either by planting or by 
use of the axe, or both, and there is oftentimes great need of good 
judgment in cutting out inferior trees or undesirable varieties. 

The farm is to be regarded as the capital of the farmer, which is 
invested at its best only when every acre is producing the most valu- 
able crop in the greatest quantity of which it is capable. Unproduc- 
tive land is as surely " dead stock" as unsalable merchandise, and just 
as the merchant finds a higher rate of profit in some lines of trade 
than in others, so the farmer finds certain fields more profitable than 
others. Both merchant and farmer are forced at times by the exigen- 
cies of business to continue the less profitable investments, and he is 
most successful who turns them to the greatest possible account. 

The thin-soiled ridges of the farm, covered, as they may be, with 
forest growth, fulfill a threefold purpose: they form a wind-break to 
the adjacent fields, increasing thereby their productiveness ; they hold 
the drifting snows, and insure their slow melting, thus prolonging the 



opportunity for absorption of the snow water by the adjacent fields 
of lower elevation ; and they prevent late and early frosts by creating 
air currents and controlling their direction. 

Few farmers seem to have realized the great value of a close-planted, 
thick-foliaged grove as a conservator of moisture. The effectiveness 
of a wind-break depends upon its location, density, extent, and 
height. Well-planted groves, set thick at the borders, especially 
with coniferous trees, located on the crests of the ridges in the prairie 
farms of the Mississippi and Missouri valleys, would do much toward 
breaking the force of the winds which blow so constantly, protecting 
the crops on the sheltered slopes and forming protected runways for 
stock in winter. The snows accumulating in such groves are shaded 
from the sun, and long after the adjacent fields are bare the snow is 
slowly melting and the water trickling down over the plowed fields, 
which are thus thoroughly saturated. 

It is not to be supposed that limited plantations, confined to the 
waste places of the farm, would have an appreciable effect on the gen- 
eral climate of a region, for the influences must be great that can 
affect atmospheric conditions over a wide area. Locally, however, 
the planting of hilltops and the consequent heightening of elevations 
will often result in the creation of air currents that will prevent cold 
air from settling in the lowlands between, thus obviating late spring 
and early autumn frosts, and this protection can be made more efficient 
if the configuration of the neighboring lands be studied with a view 
to creating the strongest possible draft. 

In regions where tender vegetables and fruits are largely cultivated 
such protection may be of primary importance, and the clearing of 
adjoining hill crests and slopes will often result in serious disturbance 
of the local climate. 

The great utility of forest plantations in saving snow water to the 
adjacent fields has been mentioned. The summer rains are also saved 
to the farm by the same means. Following the deep-descending roots 
of the trees, they are retained in the lower strata of the soil and then 
pass to the adjoining lands and are brought within reach of the grow- 
ing plants. Such plantations are beneficial also in checking evapora- 
tion from the growing crops by breaking the force of the wind. This 
utility is of the utmost importance in the Western States, where there 
are no natural groves except near the rivers. 

Situated on the crests of slopes whose sides, together with the low- 
lands between, are under tillage, a forest plantation has much greater 
value as a wind-break than where the order is reversed, or than on 
level ground. As the winds are in general parallel to the earth's sur- 
face, any obstruction which turns them upward on a rising slope will 
protect the land beyond such slope. The matter of protecting a crop 
at crucial periods of its development is a vital one in Western farming, 
where it not infrequently occurs that hot south winds sweep over the 


country while the grain is in the milk or dough stage and completely 
ruin it. Instances of fields protected from such storms by •well-grown 
forest plats are not uncommon. Windstorms of great severity are 
also of frequent occurrence in the spring, when the young grain is 
literally twisted off at the surface of the ground or the soil is so blown 
away as to expose the roots. It is as a protection against such storms 
that the planting of thin-soiled ridges and fence lines and of the por- 
tion of the section-line highways not needed for the purpose of travel 
is urged. 

In general, the climatic conditions of the forested area of the country 
are less extreme than those of the plains, but with the record of the 
three recent drought years the need of moisture conservation is appar- 
ent alike in the East and "West. 

While in the West the thin-soiled ridges are best devoted to tree 
growth for wind-breaks and snow catches, throughout the Eastern 
and Southern States such localities should be kept in trees for the 
prevention of erosion or gullying, one of the most troublesome results 
of tillage. 

The general action of the elements in uneven or rolling surfaces 
invariably tends to carry the more fertile top mold of the higher 
ground, or at least the decaying vegetation on the surface, to the 
lower levels, which thus relatively increase in fertility at the expense 
of the elevations above them. In addition to this general tendency 
there have been deposited throughout the Northwestern States, by 
glacial and water action, drift soils containing a great quantity of 
bowlders, which are especially thick on the high ridges, making their 
cultivation very expensive. In many localities throughout the Mis- 
sissippi Valley the trend of the underlying strata of rocks is upward, 
often coming so close to the surface in the ridge lands as to render 
them worthless for cultivation. Along many river and creek valleys 
the hills which confine the lowlands rise so abruptly as to make cul- 
tivation impracticable. These and many other special cases which 
might be mentioned constitute the waste highlands of farms, all of 
which should be devoted to forest-tree culture. 

Trees, as has been seen, can exist and make a profitable growth on 
lands too poor to support farm crops. When planted in the thin soil 
of a limestone hill crest, they may make very slow growth during the 
first few years; but as the soil becomes shaded by the tree tops the 
growth becomes more rapid, and when the trees have attained a strong 
foothold, their roots penetrating the crevices of the rocks to the water 
below, they grow with additional vigor. 

Yet, it is not to be expected that as vigorous growth can be secured 
in these high waste places as in the lower, moist, and deep soils. 
Because the white cedar, the cypress, and the tamarack are found in 
swamps, where the surface of the soil is under water more than half 
the year, it does not follow that this is the ideal condition for them; 


neither must it be thought because scrubby red-cedar trees find a 
lodgment in the limestone outcrop of the Kansas River bluffs that such 
sites are the best for their growth. Such instances only prove the great 
capability of trees to endure adversity, and show that there are few 
waste places in which they can not grow. 

One has only to recall the general character of the waste places of 
the farm to realize how little can be gained from cropping them. The 
ridge soils are too thin to support a growth of cereal crops; the swamp 
soils are too wet for tillage; the cultivation of irregular plats of small 
extent becomes too expensive, by reason of the difficulties of plow- 
ing, seeding, and harvesting. Once in trees, these difficulties are 
reduced to a minimum. The thin soils of the ridges are protected 
from the weather by the tree crowns, and their decaying foliage grad- 
ually increases the fertility of the soil. 

Of the planting of swamp lands on the farm, little need be said, for 
the reason that such lands, properly drained and managed, are too 
valuable for tillage to be used for tree culture. There is deposited in 
them not only the decayed vegetation by which they have been cov- 
ered for hundreds of years, but also much of the fertile materials 
which the descending waters have brought from the higher levels. If, 
however, drainage is impossible, such land is much better covered 
with trees than standing idle. Throughout the irrigated districts of 
the West many places also are made too wet for tillage by seepage 
from the ditches. Such places, if properly underdrained, may be con- 
tinued in cultivation without especial difficulty, but if for any reason 
drainage can not be accomplished the "seepage spots" can bo profit- 
ably planted to trees. 

The odd corners and fence rows of American farms represent in the 
aggregate a great quantity of unpi*oduetive land, which might be 
planted to trees. Such limited areas, often composed of but a few 
square rods or very narrow strips, can not be treated as forest, but 
trees must be grown on them for special purposes, in which timber 
production will hardly be considered. 

The highways throughout the farming districts of the United States 
may be bordered with trees, which, while giving shade, may be used 
as living fence posts, or may become valuable nut orchards, but in 
any event will afford protection, in winter and summer alike, to the 
traveler and to the adjacent fields. In Minnesota, Wyoming, and 
other Western States the highways are at least 66 feet wide, and often 
a hundred. These tracts, separated only by wire fences from the 
cultivated fields, are not merely waste lands, but, for the most part, 
veritable propagating beds for noxious weeds, which cause much loss 
to the farmer. Try as he may, he can not protect his lands from 
Russian thistle, mustard, and the numerous other weed pests so long 
as these broad highways exist as a seeding ground for them. If they 
were planted to trees, with a vigorous undergrowth to protect the 


surface of the soil, they would not only make any weed growth impossi- 
ble, but would also be a potent means of preventing the dissemination 
of weeds from one section to another, by arresting them when car- 
ried by the winds. In many of the Western States the farmer is per- 
mitted by law thus to plant a portion of the highway with trees. 

Yet, another form of waste land is to be considered; and here the 
farmer living within the forest area is much more concerned than the 
prairie dweller. Had the adaptability of soils to tillage been made 
the basis of clearing lands in the early days, there would be less talk 
of "thin" soils now, for on many farms lands were cleared which 
should never have been stripped of their first cover. Steep hillsides, 
rocky slopes, highlands with hardly a foot of soil between the surface 
and the underlying rock, have been denuded of their forest cover, and 
their subsequent tillage has been all but profitless to the farmer. 
With constant cropping they have become so impoverished that their 
cultivation has been abandoned. Yet, they have still enough fertility 
to support a vigorous tree growth. On many New England farms 
such thin lands have been planted to white pine with the most encour- 
aging results. In many rocky, drift, eroded, and exhausted hill farms 
there is a depth of soil sufficient for the requirements of all varieties 
of trees, and the farmer within the forest area has thus a wide range of 
choice in the selection of trees. He may grow timber for railroad 
ties, for posts, for telegraph poles, for lumber, and for many other 
purposes, using the species that is best adapted to his need and to his 

In the Southern States the loblolly and short-leaf pines can be quite 
as readily grown as the white pine at the North. The loblolly seems 
to consider the abandoned fields its heritage, for throughout the lower 
Atlantic and Gulf States it quickly covers the old fields with its seed- 
lings, which grow rapidly. 


When such species as catalpa, box elder, black locust, green ash, 
white elm, and silver maple can be bought for less than $2 per thou- 
sand for strong one-year old plants, it would seem cheaper to purchase 
than to grow from seed. But with land, tools, and teams at hand, a 
forest-tree nursery can be cultivated at very little expense, and the 
farmer, by gathering seed of the native trees, and purchasing desira- 
ble seeds not to be had at home, can grow on a fraction of an acre 
seedlings enough for an extensive plantation. 

Of the broad-leafed trees, the silver maples, elms, poplars, cotton- 
wood, aspen, and willows ripen their seeds before midsummer. These 
should be planted as soon as ripe, care being taken not to cover the 
small seeds too deep. They will germinate in a few days, and by 
autumn will be of a size suitable for transplanting. 

Of the species whose seeds ripen in autumn, those of the tulip, 
catalpa, honey locust, black locust, and Kentucky coffee tree should 


be thrashed from their pods when gathered and kept over winter in 
a cool place where they will neither dry out nor mold. Birch seeds 
soon lose their vitality if permitted to dry, and they should be stored 
in close boxes or jars and kept over winter in a cool cellar. When 
the soil is moist in the fall, birch maybe sown before the ground freezes, 
but in the dry soil of the plains the seeds should be kept over winter. 
They must be sown in beds shaded as for conifers, and covered very 
lightly. The seed usually ripens in August in the northern woods, 
and should be gathered at once, separated, and stored until planting 

The sprouting of the seeds of other broad-leafed trees of the north- 
ern forest flora is hastened by subjecting them to the action of frost. 
This is accomplished either by fall planting or by mixing the seeds 
with sand and placing them in boxes on the north side of an out- 
building or other protection from the sun, whence they should be 
planted as soon as possible in the spring, or even, when the ground 
is sufficiently thawed out, in late winter. The nuts and acorns may 
be simply spread on a well-drained surface and protected from drying 
by a few inches of leaves held down by boards; but they are more 
subject to the depredations of rodents when thus disposed of. The 
seeds of fruit trees, such as cherry, mulberry, osage orange, wild 
crab apple, and hawthorn, should be separated from the pulp by 
maceration and washing before storing. Cherry and mulberry seeds 
ripen during the summer, and as the fruit is much relished by birds 
watchfulness is necessary to get them. They may be slightly dried 
after washing, and then mixed with sand. Some seeds, notably those 
of the hawthorns, are apt to lie over two or more years. Germina- 
tion of such refractory seeds is hastened by soaking in water con- 
tinuously for a week or more before planting. 

"When the soil is moist in the fall, the seeds of all trees which ripen 
after midsummer may be planted, and thus the labor of storing is 
saved. But spring planting is usually more satisfactory, because 
uniform conditions can be better maintained where the seeds have 
been properly stored. The soil is also usually in the best condition 
for receiving the seeds in the spring, and lighter covering is possible. 

The forest-tree nursery should be placed in deep, moist, well-drained 
loam, and should be thoroughly cultivated. Hand weeding is impor- 
tant, for the tiny seedlings of many trees are very delicate and the more 
vigorous grasses will quickly choke them out if left unprotected. 
Where a large nursery is made, frequent use of the harrow-toothed 
cultivator is most desirable, for it keeps a dust blanket on the sur- 
face of the soil, which prevents excessive evaporation and insures the 
most perfect soil conditions obtainable through culture. Prompt 
attention is a requisite of successful nursery management. 

Seedlings of box elder, silver maple, red maple, catalpa, black 
locust, cottonwood, willow, and mulberry are rampant growers the 


first season, and their growth may be checked, to make transplanting 
less difficult, by sowing the seed thick in broad drills. Black wild 
cherry, the elm, the ash, honey locust, black walnut, tulip, crab 
apple, hackberry, linden, and coffee tree are of moderate growth 
and easily attain transplanting size the first year. The oaks and the 
nut trees generally, hard maple, beech, and hawthorn will usually 
be benefited by remaining two or three years in the nursery. The 
birches should be transplanted from the seed bed to the nursery row 
the second year, and set in permanent forest the third. 

While the cone-bearing trees are more difficult to manage than the 
broad-leafed species, it will be found advantageous to the farmer to 
grow his OAvn conifers. Not only are coniferous trees (pines, spruces, 
cedars, larches, etc.) more difficult to transplant, but they are disas- 
trously affected by the drying of their roots, and in the operations of 
commercial nurseries — digging, storing, and packing— as well as in 
transit, there is more or less danger from this cause. It will fre- 
quently happen, too, that plants thus injured, unless the injury be 
very severe indeed, will appear in good condition when received, so 
that the purchaser accepting them will be disappointed in his stand 
whatever care he takes in planting the stock. Even should the cost 
of growing the cone-bearing trees be more than it would cost to pur- 
chase them, as will often be the ease if the time of the grower be con- 
sidered, the trees will prove cheaper in the end, because favorable 
weather can be chosen for transplanting them : they can be dug as 
needed, and absolutely protected from drying out during the brief 
interval between digging and planting. 

Farmers living adjacent to the pineries can easily secure seed by 
gathering the cones just before they burst open and spreading them 
in a thin layer until sufficiently dry to open, when the seed will fall 
out. The same method is used in securing all seeds save the red 
cedar, the fruit of which is a gummy berry. The berries of the cedar 
should be soaked for several days in water, then rubbed together to 
remove as much of the gum as possible, when they may be planted or 
mixed in sand and kept frozen during winter. A bath in weak lye 
will hasten the cleaning process. The seeds of the remaining conifers 
are kept dry over winter. They can be purchased of leading seeds- 
men throughout the country, and, as a rule, come true to name, though 
difficulty regarding the Rocky Mountain species is sometimes experi- 
enced. As seeds lose their vitality to a considerable degree the second 
year and to a much greater degree thereafter, it is important to secure 
them fresh. 

A well-drained, preferably sandy, soil should be chosen and the seed 
bed prepared as is usual for cold frames, so that as soon as the seed is 
planted the bed can be shaded. It should be open to the air on all 
sides, and the seed may be sown broadcast in the bed, or in drills 
a few inches apart. The seed should be covered but little, if any, 


more than its own depth. Pine, spruce, and Douglas spruce seed 
usually germinates in eighteen to twenty days, red cedar in two to 
six months, and larch in twenty to thirty days. Shortly after the 
trees are up, or at any time during the first summer, a disease called 
' ' damping off " is liable to attack them. This is a fungous growth, and 
results in the decay of the tiny seedlings at the ground. It is often 
very destructive. . The only remedy is to sow clean dry sand among 
the seedlings and withhold water for a few days. This is not always 
effective, but it will usually check the disease. 

The shade for the seed bed is variously made. In the large nurs- 
eries it is usually a shed, roofed and sided with laths, but this would 
be too expensive for a farm nursery. Useful shades are made by 
laying brush across supports or by bunches of rushes or swamp grass 
similarly placed, but of course these are more difficult to keep in 
order. Where proper attention is paid to ventilation, an inexpensive 
shade can be made by tacking cheap sheeting to a frame to iest 
upon supports running along the side of the bed. 

It may be advisable sometimes to purchase one or two year old 
seedlings from reliable growers. They should be planted, in shaded 
beds, about 3 inches apart, in rows 6 to -12 inches apart. It will bo 
necessary to keep them shaded one to three years, according to their 
rate of growth. The oftener the cone-bearing trees are transplanted 
before being set permanently the better, as by this process the growth 
of fibrous roots close to the collar is encouraged. Especial care must 
be taken in handling conifers to prevent their roots from drying in 
the least, as whenever the roots dry it is almost impossible to make 
the trees live. The seedlings should be packed in damp moss at the 
nursery, and as soon as received the roots should be puddled in liquid 
mud and heeled in in a shaded place. The heeling in should be care- 
fully done, the fine soil pressing close upon the roots, but not covering 
the tops. In a shaded place the trees may be left thus until the 
roots begin growth. In planting it is best to carry the trees in a 
bucket, with just enough water to cover the roots. They should be 
planted firmly and be well trampled, and a little loose soil dusted over 
the trampled surface to prevent baking. No tree should be set much 
deeper than it stood before, and this is specially important in trans- 
planting conifers. 

Conifers are ready for setting in plantations when from two to six 
years old. Larches can usually be set when two or three years old, 
the pines and cedars when from three to five years, and the spruces 
when from four to six years. 


The Division of Forestry has frequently issued cultural notes on 
the leading economic species of American timber trees, and many of 


the State horticultural societies, notably those of Kansas, Nebraska, 
Iowa, and Minnesota, have published manuals of forest-tree culture, 
so that detailed information for special regions is not lacking. While 
this is true in a general sense, little accurate information of the 
results of planting in waste places is available. In the West, where 
farm plantations have been attempted most extensively, the site 
chosen for the groves has been determined primarily by convenience, 
and it has seldom happened that the waste places have been selected. 
In the forest area little planting of any sort has been attempted on 
farms. Consequently the actual data of the results of waste plantings 
on farms are few. 

Broadly speaking, the same rules which are practiced in forest 
planting in general are applicable to the waste plantings of farms ; 
these include the adaptability of the species to the locality, attention 
to the light requirements of species, and to their rate of growth. 

In ridge or high land planting it must be remembered that the soil 
is much less moist in such locations than in the valleys and lowlands, 
that the winds cause increased evaporation, and that droughts are 
especially severe. Trees requiring a generous supply of water will 
never succeed well in high, thin soils. This is particularly true of the 
plains, where not only a limited rainfall but excessive evaporation 
render the water supply much smaller than it is within the forest area. 
There can be no doubt that conifers will prove the most useful trees, 
as a class, for such locations. This is suggested by the natural tree 
covering of the Rocky Mountains, where the exposed highlands are 
clothed with pines, spruces, and firs to the tree line, while broad- 
leafed species are found only fringing the streams in the valleys. But 
the farmer who attempts to cover bare ground with a plantation of 
conifers will find it necessary to replant portions during several suc- 
cessive seasons before a good stand is secured. The reason for this 
is found principally in the difficulty of transplanting and in the light 
requirement of the conifers, which changes materially as the trees 
grow older. Almost all species of conifers are benefited by at least 
partial shade during the first few years of their existence. As they 
advance from the seedling to the sapling stage, those which are most 
light requiring, notably the larches and pines, are less tolerant of the 
shade of their neighbors, and reach up in an effort to spread their 
crowns in the full sunshine, but it is a well-known fact that the 
white pine endures the shade even of such densely f oliaged species 
as the spruces during its infancy. Hence, it would seem best to 
begin the ridge plantation with broad-leafed trees, with the intention 
of introducing among them, in the course of four or five years, an 
equal number of conifers. 

In the Horth the birches (Beiula lutea and B. lenta) and aspen 
(Poptdus iremitlmdes) should prove useful for mixing with conifers, 
though we do not know of an experiment of this kind. They are 


light-f oliaged species, and while they are ordinarily found near streams 
they have succeeded well in the dry prairies of the eastern portion of 
the Dakotas. They are the natiiral neighbors and nurses of the pines 
and spruces in the Minnesota and Wisconsin woods. The first trees 
to appear on a great "burn " (a region where the forest has been killed 
by fire) are quaking aspen and the birches (Betula lutea, B. papyrifera, 
and B. Tenia), and in their wake, if ever, the conifers appear. 

Throughout the West a mixture of such broad-leafed species as 
box elder, silver maple, black wild cherry, bur oak, white elm, yellow 
birch, and green ash will be found useful in ridge planting, and south 
of the sand-hill region of Nebraska the Russian mulberry, catalpa, 
and black locust may be added. Of these, the species enduring 
the most shade during youth are named first. It will be noticed 
at once that several of these kinds are moisture-loving trees, but 
those here named have been grown in dry situations with a measure 
of success. The box elder and silver maple are short lived where 
grown in the ridge lands of the West, but during their first years 
they grow vigorously, and they will endure long enough to serve as 
nurses for conifers until the latter are established. Black, wild cherry, 
while not extensively planted, has been grown successfully in various 
parts of Kansas, Colorado, and South Dakota — localities covering a 
sufficient area to warrant its extensive use. It has the further advan- 
tage of being a shade-enduring tree during youth, a point of much 
importance in the West, where comparatively few such succeed. It 
endures drought better than box elder or silver maple, being one of 
the hardiest species in this regard. 

White elm, while a species of the greatest hardiness, is less vigorous 
in highlands than either wild cherry or bur oak, and is principally use- 
ful in plantings on such lands in giving variety. Bur oak has proven 
a most useful species in highland planting. It grows very slowly dur- 
ing the first few years, making but a feAV inches increase in height 
each year, and seemingly suppressed by its neighbors, but at the South 
Dakota Experiment Station, in a mixture of bur oak, elm, and box 
elder, the best bur oaks now equal the box elders in height, after eight 
years' growth. At the Kansas Station bur oaks planted on high lime- 
stone land, between rows of catalpa and black locust, have not made 
much height growth, being cut off every winter by jack rabbits, but 
vigorous shoots push out each spring, showing sufficient root devel- 
opment in spite of untoward conditions. The black walnut is not 
adapted to highland planting in the West. 

In the use of such varieties as are named above, fully two-thirds of 
the trees should be of the dense-foliage kinds, and the remainder 
should be mixed with these so that each of them would be sur- 
rounded by dense shaders. They should be set not more than 4 by 4 
feet apart, not only because they will most quickly shade the ground, 
and thus prevent weed growth, when close planted, but because a 


dense plantation gives best results as a wind-break and as a snow 
catcher. During the first five years more or less damage is apt to 
result from the breaking of the trees by heavy snows, but this injury 
is seldom permanent, if the broken trees are pruned promptly in the 
spring. It is unnecessary to leave blank spaces for the introduction 
of conifers. By the time the broad-leafed trees shade the ground — 
in from three to five years — the conifers may be inserted where trees 
have failed, and may even be introduced between the rows. It is 
especially desirable that spruces and cedars be set thickly toward 
the margins of the plantation, as they form thus a protecting wind 
mantle for the more central trees. 

Among the conifers which have been most largely tested in "Western 
planting, the European larch, Scotch pine, white pine, Austrian pine, 
Norway spruce, red cedar, arbor vitse, and white spruce are most 
common. Of these, the white pine, Norway spruce, and arbor vitse 
are of little value west of the Missouri River, although some fine 
specimens of all these species can be found in the counties bordering 
that river. Among the Rocky Mountain conifers that would seem 
especially adapted to the West are the bull pine and Douglas spruce. 

The European larch has been extensively planted in the Mississippi 
Valley, and it is especially useful in the planting of thin-soiled ridges. 
In a plantation on such land at Ridott, 111., the larch is easily the 
best tree, Avith white pine and Norway spruce following in the order 
named. These species were originally planted in alternate rows with 
broad-leafed trees (walnut, ash, etc.), which they completely sup- 
pressed, very few of the latter being alive after twenty-five years. In 
1895 the larches were thinned out, and made each from two to three 
fence posts 7 feet long, many of the butt posts being 10 inches in 
diameter. The remaining conifers stand from 30 to 40 feet high, 
and are from 3 to 8 inches in diameter. They include white pine, 
Scotch pine, Norway spruce, and arbor vitas. The larch is sprawling 
in growth during the first few years, after which a leader is formed 
and the growth is very erect and straight. The species is deciduous, 
and the successive crops of leaves during the course of twenty years 
form a mulch so dense as to quite prevent weed growth. In Europe 
the larch is commonly used as a nurse for the pines, as the latter do 
not suffer in the slight shade of the larches, which grow more rapidly 
and are thinned out as the pines approach their principal height 
growth. This mixture has also been practiced at Elgin, 111., with the 
most gratifying results. 

In the drier parts Of the "West the white pine does not succeed, but 
throughout the prairie States it can be successfully grown in ridge 
lands. Beyond the Missouri the Austrian, Scotch, and bull pine will 
be found better adapted to the climate. So, too, the Norway spruce 
is not so useful in the dry region as are the Black Hills white spruce 
and the Douglas spruce. 


Within the forest area — that is, in the States where the whole coun- 
try was once covered with forest — different conditions prevail, and a 
much greater proportion of waste land is contained in the farms than 
is found in the prairies and plains. These lands consist largely of 
hillsides so badly washed as to be untillable and rough fields and 
pastures in which the impoverished soil will not produce a profita- 
ble crop. In the northern regions a large part of the hill country is 
made up of drift soils, of a characteristic clay loam, deep, moist, and 
well adapted to many kinds of tree growth. Farther south the hills 
are composed of granitic rock, which is still in process of disintegra- 
tion. These soils are moist and in every way favorable to tree growth, 
as is indicated by the number of varieties and the great development 
of individuals standing in them. 

The rapid-growing tulip tree, which furnishes the poplar timber of 
commerce, succeeds well in the moist hillside soils of the Alleghany 
region, and should prove a valuable species for mixing with the more 
dense-shading forms, such as maples and beech. The slow-growing 
oaks, especially such species as the red (Quercus rubra), black 
(Q. velutina), bur (Q. macrocarpa), white {Q. alba), and chestnut 
(Q. prinus), will also prove useful. Of these the black and red oaks 
are much more rapid growers than is usually believed, and all will be 
found worthy of a place in a mixed planting. The tulip poplar and 
the oaks are best introduced sparingly into farm mixtures, at the rate 
of from 24 to 50 per acre among other forms. They will thus be the 
ultimate trees, not interfering seriously with the development of 
the remaining forms, but reaching their full size when these have been 
mostly removed. If planted for its timber, the black walnut is best 
managed in this way also, though the walnut is essentially a tree of 
the valley as compared with hillside locations. The white hickory 
should succeed well on clay hillsides, and when well established can 
be treated profitably as coppice. 

Of slow growth during youth, the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) 
is a most useful species in soils of this character, both on account of 
its forestal and its economic value. It endures the shade of other 
trees to an unusual degree, and thus forms a fine second to such rapid 
growers as black locust, tulip tree, etc. When these are removed, 
the maple develops more rapidly, and the foundation of a first-class 
sugar orchai"d may thus be secured. The beech is a neglected tree in 
America, though one of the most available forms known to the 
European forester. Like the sugar maple, it likes a deep, moist soil, 
and does not succeed in the prairies; but within the forest area it 
should prove one of the most useful shade-enduring species for hill- 
side planting, especially on northern slopes. 

In all waste planting on Eastern farms tho use to be made of the 
wood crop is a more important consideration than in the West, where 
the incidental value of the plantation is of equal if not greater 


importance than the resulting crop. In very few localities within the 
forest area is there a sufficient lack of fuel to make planting for this 
object of any importance. Broad-leafed trees, except as they yield 
material for stakes and posts, repairs, etc., are too slow in their 
development to make an attractive crop to the farmer, and hence the 
larches and pines would seem to be the most promising varieties to 
plant where a money return is looked for, unless the waste land is 
especially adapted to the growth of osiers or hickory coppice, or some 
special reason exists for the planting of hard woods. 

When hillside fields are abandoned, they are soon covered with a 
growth of bushes, and seedling trees of many kinds appear. As a 
rule, the natural mixture thus spontaneously produced is not of much 
value. How can it be improved ? Where there is a soil of considera- 
ble depth and sufficient moisture, even though the land be "worn 
out," the best oaks, chestnut, and hard maple can be introduced, the 
former by pressing the acorns and nuts an inch into the soil, cover- 
ing with the foot, and the latter by sowing seed in hills. Such plant- 
ing can be done without regard to the existing growth and without 
disturbing it, all these species taking a strong hold on the soil before 
top growth advances, and hence being comparatively indifferent to 
light in the early stage of growth. 

A stand of conifers is more difficult to secure. Usually the surface 
of such waste lands is so covered with moss and other debris that seeds 
sown broadcast and left without further care fail to come in contact 
with the moist soil, and hence fail to germinate. Successful seeding 
has often been accomplished where the fields have been surrounded 
by mature trees and have been undisturbed by cultivation during a 
seed year, thus giving the pines an equal opportunity with less desira- 
ble species to sow their seed in the soil. Where the seed can be har- 
rowed in, there is a reasonable prospect of a stand; but it will usually 
be found more profitable to plant the young trees, using such as have 
been one or two years in nursery rows after transplanting from the seed 
bed. In the spring, when the soil is moist, hillside fields and pastures 
may be planted thus to conifers with a dibble or spade, the distance 
apart depending upon the growth already established. On clean land 
the trees should stand close, not more than 4 by 4 feet. If there be a 
considerable soil cover of brush which can be used to nurse or protect 
the young plants, these may be set in at the rate of 680 to the acre 
(8 by 8 feet), or even less. Even in such cases thick planting is the 
more desirable, using a mixture of dense-shading (spruce) trees with 
light-needing species, such as the pines, or distributing the pines 
among larch seedlings, whieh grow very tall and slender and have 
proven good neighbors for the pines. 

Where the white pine is native, a successful method of planting 
is to take up the young seedlings in the woods with the sod in which 
they grow, thus disturbing the root as little as possible. This is much 


slower than where nursery plants are used. In clean fields men unac- 
customed to the work can easily set 1,000 trees per day, while skilled 
workmen can almost double this number. 

Close planting is less important in the Alleghany region, where 
there is an abundant moisture supply, than in the dry country west 
of the Mississippi River. In New England many successful planters 
set pines not closer than 10 by 10 feet (435 per acre). The abjection 
to such wide spacing is that too great a growth of branches results on 
the lower part of the stem, producing knotty timber. Thinning 
should be sparingly done, the ideal stand during the first eighty years 
being one in which the trees are never so far apart that the branches 
will not touch each other when swayed by the wind, and during the 
first fifty years the trees should stand so close that the branches touch 
each other when still. This condition is best secured by slight and 
frequent thinnings (seven to ten years apart) during the period of 
most rapid growth. The increasing demand for box timber in the 
manufacturing districts of the East provides a market for pine and 
similar wood when 35 to 50 years old, thus permitting a short period 
of rotation in the forest management of waste lands in Eastern farms, 
and overcoming a principal objection to forest planting. 

In all ridge planting, whether within or beyond the forest area, a 
leading purpose is the improvement -of the soil, and this is best 
attained by close planting, which not only protects the surface soil 
from wind action, but also retains the leaves where they fall, thus 
enriching the soil by their decay. 

The stand secured from any planting will of course depend upon 
the conditions of soil and climate at the time of planting and through- 
out the season, as well as the skill with which the planting is done. 
Climatic conditions play so large a part that there is always more or 
less danger of partial failure, especially with conifers. Within the 
forest region success is much more certain than in the plains, where, 
under favorable conditions at planting time, a stand of 60 per cent of 
the conifers set should be considered satisfactory. With no greater 
proportion living than this, replanting would be necessary the follow- 
ing spring, unless the blanks were so situated as to make filling in 
with cheaper deciduous forms possible. The aim of the planter should 
be to have the trees which he designs to stand until mature so dis- 
tributed in his grove that they will each have the largest possible 
amount of space after the remaining trees have been cut out. Hence, 
when for any reason the conifers desired are expensive, if the planter 
intends to make his grove of coniferous trees, he may place them 8 
by 8 feet, 12 by 12 feet, 16 by 16 feet (680, 302, 170 per acre), or even 
at wider intervals, and fill in the spaces to 4 by 4 feet or less with 
such trees as box elder, silver maple, Russian mulberry, catalpa, 
black locust, etc. Of these the first three named would fulfill only a 
temporary office and might be removed within ten or fifteen years, by 

"tree planting in waste places on the farm. 337 

which time the others would have attained useful size. These could 
be thinned out from time to time, as necessary, leaving the land to 
the conifers alone within from thirty to fifty years of planting. Here 
again, if due regard to the light requirements of the several species 
has been observed in planting, the trees will be found in regular order, 
such light-demanding kinds as the pines and larches being surrounded 
by the sliade-enduring spruces; or if only one coniferous form has 
been used, the subsequent thinning will be so managed as to give to 
each of the remaining trees the largest possible amount of light and 
room. It will be readily understood from these notes that the amount 
of pine, spruce, or larch that may be produced on an acre within a 
given time — as in fifty years — will depend quite as much upon the 
judgment which has attended the thinnings as upon favorable condi- 
tions of soil and climate. Fifty thousand feet, B. M. , of white pine has 
been produced at 50 years of age from natural seeding with the aid 
of careful thinning. This must be considered an unusually large 
growth, and one-fourth as much would be good in ordinary practice. 

planting to bind soils. 

Much of the waste planting of farms will be done to bind the soil of 
the hillsides which have been worn to gullies by long exposure and 
cropping. One of the best trees for this purpose is the black locust, 
which has a great root development and is one of the toughest woods. 
This tree is a native of the rocky hillsides of the Alleghany region, 
and succeeds well in all kinds of soils. It is a rapid grower, attain- 
ing a size suitable for vine stakes, intermediate posts, etc., in about 
ten years. It reproduces itself freely by sprouting, and spreads 
rapidly where planted pure. It is a thin-foliaged tree, and planted 
alone is not a soil improver, but it can be established where more 
desirable species in this regard can not gain a foothold, and these 
can be introduced later. 

The locust is much subject to the attack of a very destructive borer, 
but this insect is less common than formerly, and its ravages are 
reduced to a minimum in mixed planting. Few broad-leafed species 
are of greater value than black locust for farm uses. It is the hardest 
and the most durable of our trees. Commercially, the timber fur- 
nishes the best wooden pins or treenails used in shipbuilding, and it 
is also used for wheel hubs. 

A second important form of planting for the purpose' of binding 
soils is that used in controlling the direction of streams by the plant- 
ing of willows on their banks. East and West much fertile farm land 
is rendered comparatively waste by the windings of streams, which 
curve in and out, occupying wide stretches of bottom lands and mak- 
ing them useless except for pasturage. If simply a straight channel 
is cut for such streams, they soon wear the banks and are again uncon- 
trolled. By planting willow cuttings in the sides of such cuts, a first 
12 A96 — -22 


row near the water at its low stage and additional rows in the face 
and top of the cut, the roots soon bind the soil, holding it against the 
wearing action of high water. Either white willow or osiers can be 
used for such planting. Where fuel is scarce, the rapid-growing white 
willow will be found most useful. In such locations it attains a diam- 
eter at the butt of 5 to 8 inches in ten years, and as it sprouts readily 
from the stump it can be treated as coppice and will furnish a supply 
of small wood for many years. Where there is a market for them, 
osier willows can be profitably grown in such waste places. The spe- 
cies most commonly used is the red osier (Salix purpurea var. Pyra- 
midalis). Cuttings from well-ripened wood, 12 inches long, are simply 
stuck in the washed banks. The osiers are more profitable where 
given high cultivation, and land too wet for corn but yet capable 
of cultivation is well adapted to them. The soil should be deeply 
plowed or spaded, and the cuttings set to the top bud in rows 4 or 5 
feet apart, 1 foot in the row. The withes, or rods, should be cut close 
to the ground every year, including the first, in order to secure the 
strongest growth. 


For highways, fence rows, and odd corners, those waste lands which 
often contain some of the most fertile soil in the farm, the nut trees 
are especially available. The black walnut has been largely used in 
the West as a fence-line tree, because of its rapid growth, excellent 
nuts, and ultimately valuable timber. It prefers a deep, rich soil, and 
is intolerant of drought, but in suitable localities it is a successful 
tree throughout the country east of the one hundredth meridian and 
south of the Minnesota line, though grown as far north as Minneapolis. 
The chestnut, like all nut trees, varies greatly in the quality of its fruit, 
and the farmer has abundant opportunitj 7 of selection in choosing nuts 
for planting. Although limited in its natural range of the country 
east of the Wabash and Kentucky rivers, it has been successfully 
grown in western Missouri (Kansas City) and central Iowa, and will 
probably succeed as far west as the Missouri River. Unlike the wal- 
nut, the chestnut succeeds well in highlands. Experiments in graft- 
ing Spanish and other improved chestnuts on the native stock have 
been entirely successful. 

The pecan has attracted much attention in the Southwest during 
the past few years as a desirable nut tree, and as such deserves atten- 
tion in this connection. The pecan is of even more limited natural 
range than the chestnut, its northern boundary being in southern 
Indiana and Illinois and its eastern line about central Kentucky. It 
is thus essentially a Southwestern form, and is worthy of the careful 
attention of farmers in that part of the country as a means of making 
waste places productive. It is successfully grown throughout the for- 
est area south of New York. A great range of choice is possible in 
selecting nuts for planting, as they vary greatly even in the same grove. 


The shagbark hickory is much less particular in its soil require- 
ments than the pecan, although a closely related species. It occu- 
pies sandy ridges and clay hillsides as well as the richer lowlands, 
and is well worth consideration as well for timber as for its fruits. 
Its habits being understood, it should be a useful species for waste 
farm planting. In its natural state it grows in open groves with hazel 
or other undergrowth. While usually more or less mixed with other 
trees, it is often the dominant form over considerable areas. It is a 
light-demanding tree, and is difficult to transplant unless specially 
prepared by the cutting of the taproot a year previous to setting. 
The mocker nut, variously called Missouri nut, bull nut, king nut, 
etc., is more southern in its range than the shagbark, which is found 
from New England to southern Minnesota. The hickories can be 
profitably grown as coppice, the cuttings having an established value 
for hoop poles. 

The nut trees are best grown by sowing the nuts where the trees are 
to stand. Along fences they can be grown in open hedge rows, and 
during their earlier years will fruit freely in such plantings. As they 
grow older those which bear inferior fruit can be cut out, giving neces- 
sary room for the remaining trees. If grown on highways, the nut 
trees will- be benefited by being mixed with some low-growing, woody 
plant, such as sand cherry, coral berry, wild gooseberry, or some low- 
growing tree, like wild plum, ironwood, or dogwood. Such under- 
growth will prevent weed growth and thus further the especial 
purpose of the plantation. 

If the fruit rather than the timber is the principal crop desired, 
the nut trees should be encouraged to form large, open crowns, admit- 
ting light freely, for fruit is produced only under such conditions. 
Therefore, in the planting of odd corners, fence lines, and highways 
with nut trees, if other species are mixed in they must not be per- 
mitted to shade the nut trees, but must be lower growing, or very erect, 
in which case but few should be used. The nut trees may require 
some nursing during the first ten years, to induce them to form a 
trunk of proper height, especially in roadside planting, but when this 
is attained their crowns should have full sunlight. At the same time 
several species are peculiarly subject to sun scald, especially the hick- 
ories and white walnut, or butternut (the latter is excluded from this 
list on this account), and this suggests the advisability of mixing with 
them a low-growing tree which will shade their trunks during youth. 
In the North Central States the Russian mulberry should prove a use- 
ful tree for this purpose, as it is a rapid grower during youth and of 
only moderate height. Of the shrubs suggested for use as under- 
growth none can gain a foothold until the crown cover has been raised 
considerably from the ground, after ten or twenty years, so that this 
is an after consideration, unless all be planted at the same time. 

Among the trees of possible culture in waste places the especial 


usefulness of several may be mentioned. The hardy catalpa is one 
of the few rapid-growing trees whose wood is very durable in contact 
with the soil, and it is therefore unexcelled as post timber. It does 
not succeed north of central Iowa nor west of the ninety-seventh merid- 
ian, but within its range it is one of the most rapid-growing trees, and 
will prove a useful timber on every farm for posts, stakes, and rails. 
The European larch, though not so durable in contact with the soil, can 
be grown over a wider range, and is an excellent post and rail timber. 
More trees of this species can be grown to large size on a given area 
than of any other, because of its erect habit. Thus, trees standing 4 
by 4 feet can be grown to good rail size without thinning. 

The white ash in the East and the green ash in the West should be 
included in farm planting on account of the usefulness of their tim- 
ber, when properly seasoned, for machinery repairs. While of slower 
growth than the foregoing, they yet attain a useful size for many 
purposes within twenty-five years. Like the black locust, they should 
be scattered among other species to reduce the danger from borers. 
The white elm yields a tough timber that can be applied to many 
farm uses, and as it succeeds in most locations it should form a part 
of all plantations. The hickories, aside from their excellent nuts, are 
among the most useful of farm timbers, because of their toughness 
and elasticity. The black wild cherry is most useful incidentally in 
the farm plantation, as it produces a fruit much relished by bh'ds, 
and has a high forestal value. The timber attains its peculiar value 
only with age, as is the case with the black walnut. 

The wood of pines and spruces is of comparatively little value 
until the trees are mature, as it is neither so strong nor so durable as 
that of several species mentioned. The incidental value of these conir 
fers is greater than that of broad-leafed trees, as their leaves are held 
through the winter, thus greatly increasing their usefulness as wind- 
breaks. The well-known superiority of the lumber of mature trees 
needs no comment. The red cedar is one of the most durable timbers 
known in contact with the soil, and the arbor vitae is only less valuble 
as a post timber. 

The common cotton wood is one of the least useful trees for waste 
planting on the farm, because it succeeds well only in fresh or moist 
soils. In the far West it is a useful tree for planting in seepage spots, 
and it can be well grown in all moist soils. It is neither durable nor 
strong, so that its principal value is in its rapid growth, giving an 
early supply of fuel. Of the willows, the leading one is the common 
white willow, which is especially useful as a wind-break, but the 
willow also likes a moist soil, unfitting it for most waste planting. 


By F. H. Chittenden, 
Assistant Entomologist, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


Asparagus was introduced into this country with the early settlers 
from Europe, and is credited with having been cultivated here for 
two hundred years before being troubled with insects. 

A number of species of na- 
tive American insects have 
been observed to feed upon 
this plant, but none, so far as 
we know, have become suffi- 
ciently attached to it to cause 
serious injury. Few of our 
edible plants, in short, down 
to the time of the civil war 
have enjoyed such immunity 
from the ravages of insects. 
(Fig. 84.) 

In the Old World two in- 
sects, called asparagus bee- 
tles, have been known as ene- 
mies of the asparagus since 
early times. In the year 1862 
one of these- insects, known to 
science as Crioceris asparagi, 
and which may be called the 
common asparagus beetle, was 
the occasion of considerable 
alarm on asparagus farms in 
Queens County, N. Y., where 
it threatened to destroy this, 
one of the most valuable crops 
grown on Long Island. Sub- 
sequent inquiry, brought 
about chiefly through the ef- 
forts of Dr. Asa Fitch, then official entomologist of the New York 
State Agricultural Society, developed the fact that the species had 


Pig. 84.— Spray of asparagus, with common aspara- 
gus beetle in its different stages; asparagus top 
at right, showing eggs and injury— natural size 


begun its destructive work at Astoria, near New York City, in 1860, 
and it is now conceded that it was introduced in this locality about 
1856. 1 

In 1881 another European importation was detected on asparagus 
near Baltimore, Md. This latter is Crioceris duodecimpunctata, com- 
monly called the twelve-spotted asparagus beetle. 


(Crioceris atsparagi Linn.) 

From the seat of its introduction at Astoria, forty years ago, the 
asparagus beetle soon spread to the asparagus farms of Queens County, 
N. Y., and by 1862 it was reported to have occasioned the loss of over 
a third of the crops of certain localities, such loss being estimated at 

The injury inflicted by this insect is due to the work of both adults 
and larvfe upon the tender shoots, which they render unfit for market 
early in the season and later destroy by defoliation 
of the high-grown plants, and particularly seed- 
lings, the roots of which are weakened by having 
their tops devoured. The larvae are sometimes so 
abundant that the black, molasses-like fluid that 
they emit from their mouths soils the hands of 
those who are engaged in bunching the stalks for 
market, and again the eggs are laid upon the stalks 
in such numbers that these latter are rendered 
a h unsightly and even slippery by their presence. 

F ro^ 5 -"^,da°rk"orm P of Larvae, as well as beetles, attack the tenderest 
beetle; 6, light form— portions of the plants, but the latter gnaw with 
enlarged (original). seemingl y e q Ua l relish the epidermis, or rind, of the 
stems. The beetles are also accused of gnawing young shoots beneath 
the surface, causing them to become woody and crooked in growth. 

A correspondent of the Department, Mr. William H. Hunt, an exten- 
sive asparagus grower at Concord, one of the leading towns in the 
cultivation of this crop in Massachusetts, writes that it is in establish- 
ing new beds that the greatest trouble and expense are incurred. The 
plant must grow a year as seedling and two more in the beds before 
being cut for table use, and during these three years it is constantly 
exposed to the attacks of this insect. Careful growers protect their 
beds, but careless growers, after cultivating a bed for one or two years, 

1 The capture of this species was recorded early in the present century in Penn- 
sylvania — presumably near Hanover — and again in the vicinity of Chicago and 
Rock Island, HI., about ten years after the discovery on Long Island, but, as the 
insect died out in these localities, these were obviously independent importations, 
and can not be considered introductions as the word is used of plants and animals, 
since the species did not obtain a permanent foothold. 


become discouraged and plow it up and plant something else. Mr. 
Hunt states that five such instances have occurred in his neighborhood. 
The adult beetle is a most beautiful creature, slender and graceful 
in form, blue-black in color, with red thorax, and lemon-yellow and 
dark-blue elytra or wing covers, with reddish border. A common form 
of elytral ornamentation in the latitude of the District of Columbia is 
illustrated at fig. 86, a. Farther north the prevailing form is darker, 
the lighter coloring sometimes showing only as a reddish border and 
six small submarginal yellow spots. (See fig. 85, a.) An extreme 
light form not uncommon in the southern range of the insect is shown 
by the same figure, b, for comparison. Its length is a trifle less than 
one-fourth of an inch. 


From the scene of its first colonization in Queens County, the 
insect migrated to the other truck-growing portions of Long Island, 
and may now be found at Cutchogue, toward the eastern end of the 
island. It soon reached southern Connecticut, and has now extended 
its range northward through that State and Massachusetts to the State 
line of New Hampshire. Southward, it has traveled through New 
Jersey, where it was first noticed in 1868, eastern Pennsylvania, Del- 
aware, and Maryland to southern Virginia. 

Its distribution by natural means has been mainly by the flight of 
the adult beetles. Undoubtedly, also, the beetles have been trans- 
ported from place to place by water, both up and down stream by 
rising and falling tide, as the fact that it has not until recently devi- 
ated far from the immediate neighborhood of the seacoast and of 
large water courses near the coast bears abundant testimony. 

Another reason for the present prevalence of this species in these 
localities is that asparagus was originally a maritime plant and has 
escaped from cultivation and grown most luxuriantly in the vicinity of 
large bodies of water. It is well known that it is usually upon wild 
plants that the insect first makes its appearance in new localities. 
There is evidence also that its dissemination may be effected by what 
Dr. Howard, who has made a special study of the distribution of this 
and other imported insect pests, has termed a "commercial jump," 
either by commerce in propagating roots, among which the insect may 
be present either as hibernating beetles or as pupae, or by the acci- 
dental carriage of the beetles on railroad trains or boats. 

Only by some such artificial means of distribution has it in later years 
found its way to northwestern New York, in four counties between 
Rome and Buffalo, and to Ohio, where it now occupies a similar terri- 
tory of four counties between Cleveland and the Pennsylvania State 
line. During the past summer Dr. Howard traced its course along 
the Hudson River above Albany. Inquiry instituted by Mr. F. M. 
Webster concerning the Ohio occurrence disclosed the fact that the 
plants in one locality were brought from New York. Its presence in 


eastern Massachusetts in like manner may be due to direct shipments 
of roots from infested localities to Boston and vicinity. 

It is noticeable that its inland spread, except in the neighborhood 
of water, has been extremely limited. It is present now in what is 
known as the Upper Austral life zone, although in certain points in 
New England it has located in what is considered the Transition zone. 
Its course up the Hudson River lies within a rather narrow strip of 
Upper Austral, and its location in the vicinity of Mechanicsville, about 
twenty miles north of Albany, marks its present most northern loca- 
tion. In all probability it is destined in time to overspread the entire 
Upper Austral zone and to make its way to some extent into neigh- 
boring areas in which it may find conditions for its continuance. 

Through inquiry conducted during the years 1895 and 1896 by Dr. 
Howard the distribution of this species in Massachusetts, though wide, 
is found to be local. In New Hampshire it has been recorded from 
Nashua and Portsmouth. The species is reported also from Barring- 
ton, R. I., and is well established in Connecticut. It is possible that 
in a few years it may be able to encroach slightly upon the bordering 
States of Vermont in the vicintty of the Connecticut River Valley and 
Maine, near the New Hampshire seaboard. It is generally distributed 
through New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, and in southeastern 
Pennsylvania near the Delaware River. It is still local in New York 
and Ohio, but we may expect within a few years to hear of its invad- 
ing other portions of those States lying within the Upper Austral zone; 
also Canada, of which there is a strip of Upper Austral bordering the 
northern shore of Lake Erie, and later Indiana, Illinois, and Ken- 
tucky and farther west. 


The insect passes the winter in the beetle state under convenient 
shelter, such as piles of rubbish, sticks, or stones, or under the loose 
bark of trees and fence posts. Toward the end of April or early in 
May, according to locality, or at the season for cutting the asparagus 
for market, the beetles issue from their hibernating quarters and lay 
the eggs for the first brood. 

The egg is very large in proportion to the beetle, being nearly a 
sixteenth of an inch in length, and of the elongate-oval form illus- 
trated at fig. 86, b. It is nearly three times as long as wide and of a 
dark-brown color. The eggs are deposited endwise upon the stem or 
foliage and in early spring on the developing stalks, usually in rows 
of from two to six or seven. 

In from three to eight days the eggs hatch, the young larvae, com- 
monly called "grubs" or "worms," presenting the appearance indi- 
cated in fig. 86, c. The head of the newly hatched larva is large, 
black, and bead-like, its body is gray, and its three pairs of legs black. 
It at once begins to feed, and is from ten days to a fortnight, accord- 
ing to Fitch and others, in attaining -till growth. When full grown 



it appears as in fig. 86, d. It is soft and fleshy, much wrinkled, and 
of a dark gray or olive color, sometimes light, but not infrequently 
very dark. The head is shining black, as are also the six legs. Each 
segment is provided with a pair of foot-like tubercles, which, with the 
anal proleg, assist it in crawling and in clinging to the plant. The 
mature larva enters the earth, and here, within a little rounded, dirt- 
covered cocoon which it forms, the pupa state is assumed. The pupa 
is yellowish in color, and its appearance is sufficiently shown by the 
illustration (fig. 86, e). In from five to eight or more days the adult 
beetle is produced, which in due time issues from the ground in search 
of food and for a suitable place for the continuance of the species. 


Of the duration of the life cycle, Fitch has remarked that it is about 
thirty days from the time the egg is laid until the insect grows to 

Pig. 86.- 

-Crioceris asparagi : a, beetle; 6, egg; c, newly hatched larva; d, full-grown larva; (?, 
pupa — all enlarged (original). 

maturity and comes out in its perfect form, but that the time will be 
shorter in the hottest part of the season in July and August than in 
the cooler days of May and June. These periods are for Long Island, 
New York. 

During a hot spell in midsummer the minimum period of ovulation 
and of the pupa stage was observed by the writer at this Department. 
Eggs that were laid on the 5th of August hatched on the 8th of that 
month, or in three days. A larva transformed to pupa on August 4 
and to adult August 9, or in five days. Allowing ten days as the min- 
imum credited period of the larval stage, a day or two for the larva 
to enter the ground and form its cocoon, and two or three days more 
for the beetle to mature and leave the earth, the insect is again ready 
to attack its food plant arid to continue the reproduction of its kind 
in about three weeks from the time that the egg is laid. 

This may fairly be taken to represent the minimum midsummer life- 
cycle period of the species in the District of Columbia and southward. 


In the colder climate of New England and in spring and summer 
weather the development from egg to beetle will require from four to 
perhaps seven weeks. The hibernating beetles appear here as early 
as April, and beetles of a later brood have been observed in abun- 
dance in October as far north as northern Connecticut. In its northern 
range two and perhaps three broods are usually produced, and farther 
south there is a possibility of four or five generations each year. 


For some reason writers on economic entomology have overlooked 
the fact that the common asparagus beetle has very efficient natural 
checks, in the shape of predaceous insects of many kinds, which prey 
upon its larvae and assist very materially in preventing the undue 
increase of this and other injurious species. 

Beyond the reported statement that in 1863 "a small, shining, black 
parasite fly" 1 destroyed great numbers of asparagus beetle larvae on 

Long Island, New York, 
fe^ ^^ no parasitic or predace- 
\ / ous insect enemies were 

L^HKT \ known in this country un- 

A ****^ T til 1896. 

The work of investigat- 
ing predaceous enemies 
was continued for only a 
brief season the past sum- 
mer and observations 
were confined to the coun- 
try within a few miles of 
the city of Washington. 

Of the many predatory 
insects observed on in- 
fested asparagus plants, a few are deserving of special mention. One 
of the most efficient of these is the spotted ladybird {Megilla maculata 
De G.). It was present in all the asparagus beds examined, its larvae 
appearing to have no other occupation than that of devouring those 
of asparagus beetles. This insect in its several stages is represented 
in the illustration (fig. 87). The adult beetle is rose colored, with 
numerous black spots. 

The spined soldier bug (Podisus spinosus Dall. ) and the bordered 
soldier bug (Stiretrus anchor ago Fab.) are also active destroyers of 
asparagus beetle larvae, which they attack and kill by impaling them 
upon their long proboscides and sucking out their juices. The latter 
species is illustrated at fig. 88. Certain species of wasps and small 
dragon flies also prey upon the asparagus beetle grubs. 

Pig. 87.— Megilla maculata : a, larva; 6, empty pupal skin; 
c, beetle with enlarged antenna above — all enlarged 
(original). " 

Two of the 

Possibly Myobia pumilla Macq., which is known as a parasite of Crioceris 
asparagi in Europe. 



most abundant of these are Polistes pallipes St. Farg. and Agrion 
positum Hagen. The method of procedure of these latter insects is 
to hover about the infested plants until a larva is descried, when it is 
pounced upon and carried away. 

Asparagus beetles are very susceptible to sudden changes of tem- 
perature, and it has been noticed by one of our correspondents, Mr. 
C. W. Prescott, of Concord, Mass. , that immense numbers of the hiber- 
nating beetles are killed in winter during severely cold spells follow- 
ing " open " weather, millions of their dead bodies being found under 
bark and in other hiding places. 

The intense heat that prevailed at times during the summer of 1896, 
especially during the first two weeks of August, though conducive to 
the undue propagation of some species of insects, had the opposite 
effect upon certain species that feed in the larval condition freely 
exposed upon the plants. Upon the Department grounds and else- 
where in the vicinity this was particularly noticeable in the case 

a % 

Fig. 88.— Stiretrm anchorago : a, adult bug; 6, nymph— both enlarged five times (original). 

of the larvae of Crioceris asparagi. Their eggs also seemed to be 
dried up by the heat. What with their natural enemies and the 
heat, scarcely a beetle or larva of either species was to be found about 
Washington, D. C. , after the last of August, though frequent search 
was made in the neighborhood. 


Fortunately, the common asparagus beetle is not difficult of control, 
and under ordinary circumstances may be held in restraint by the sim- 
plest means. 

Vincent Kollar, who wrote of this insect in 1837, said: "The only 
means of destruction is picking off and killing the beetles and larvae." 
Fitch's only recommendation was the employment of domestic fowls 
for the purpose. 

While hand picking is undoubtedly of some value in small beds, 


and is still in use to some extent, it must of necessity give way to more 
approved methods for the vast myriads of the beetles that concen- 
trate their forces upon the large areas that are devoted to this crop 
in the suburbs of our large cities. Chickens and ducks are efficient 
destroyers of asparagus beetles, and as they do no injury to the plant 
their services are still in requisition for this purpose at the present day. 

An excellent practice that is in high favor among prominent 
asparagus growers is to cut down all plants, including seedlings and 
volunteer growth, in early spring, so as to force the parent beetles to 
deposit their eggs upon new shoots, which are then cut every few days 
before the eggs have time to hatch for the first new brood. 

Other measures that have been employed with advantage consist in 
cutting down the seed stems after the crop has been harvested, and 
again once or twice during the cutting season, or in permitting a por- 
tion of the shoots to grow and serve as lures for the beetles. Here 
they may be killed with insecticides, or the plants, after they become 
covered with eggs, may be cut down and burned, and other shoots be 
allowed to grow up as decoys. The trap plants should be destroyed 
as often as once a week. 

With concerted action on the part of growers in following out any 
of these last methods the insects should be held in check, at least in 
a region where the plant does not grow wild in too great profusion. 
Where this is not practicable, the insecticides must be brought into 
service. It is well in any case to employ the insecticides after the 
cutting season, since if the insects are destroyed at this time their 
numbers will be lessened for the next year. 

One of the best remedies against the larvae is fresh, air-slaked lime, 
dusted on the plants in the early morning while the dew is on. It 
quickly destroys all the grubs with which it comes in contact. 

Pyrethrum is credited with being a useful remedy, and quite recently 
Professor Klein, 1 director of the experiment station at Karlsruhe, 
Baden, has reported that a mixture of soft soap, quassia decoction, 
and water (about equal parts of the rirst two to five of the last named), 
is effective against the larvae, but these remedies will hardly commend 
themselves for extensive use until they have been thoroughly tested 
on a large scale. 

The arsenites, applied dry in powder mixed with flour, as for potato 
beetles, answer equally well; they possess the advantage of destroy- 
ing beetles as well as grubs, and are of value upon plants that are not 
being cut for food. Some of our correspondents use a mixture of 
paris green and air-slaked lime, or plaster, 2 pounds of the former 
to a barrel of the latter. It should be borne in mind that to produce 
satisfactory results the lime or arsenite must be applied at frequent 
intervals, or as often as the larvae reappear on the beds. 

A simple and inexpensive method of killing the larvae in hot weather 

■Berichte d. Grossh. Bad. Landw.-Bot. Versuohsanstalt z. Karlsruhe, 1896. 


is to beat or brush them from the plants with a stick so that they will 
drop to the bare ground. The larvae are delicate creatures, and, as 
they crawl very slowly, few are able to regain the shelter of the plants, 
but die when exposed to the heated earth. 

(Crioeeris duodecimpunctata Linn.) 

A much rarer, and consequently less injurious, species than the 
preceding, at the present time, is the twelve-spotted asparagus beetle. 
It is generally distributed in Europe, where it is apparently native, 
and, although common, is not especially destructive. 

Like the commoner species, it lives exclusively on asparagus, and 
the chief damage it does is due to the depredations of the hibernated 
beetles in early spring upon the young and edible asparagus shoots. 
Later generations attack the foliage, living, for at least a considerable 
portion of the larval stage, within the ripening berries. 


The presence of this insect in America, as has been stated, was first 
discovered in 1881, and in the vicinity of Baltimore, Md. Dr. Otto 
Lugger, to whom this discovery is due, informs the writer that this 
beetle was noticed in considerable numbers from the first, showing 
that it had probably been introduced several years earlier. At that 
time it occurred quite locally, having been found only at the mouth 
of the Furnace Branch of the Patapsco River at a point a few miles 
south of Baltimore. It was then to be seen only on volunteer aspar- 
agus growing on the salty margin of this river, although beds of cul- 
tivated asparagus were plentiful in the immediate vicinity. Two 
years later the late Dr. Riley, then Entomologist of the Department of 
Agriculture, remarked that it had recently proved even more trouble- 
some than the common asparagus species. 

Assuming Baltimore to have been the original center of distribution, 
the twelve-spotted asparagus beetle has been traced southward through 
Anne Arundel and Prince George counties to the District of Colum- 
bia, where it was detected five years from the time of its first dis- 
covery. In 1892 it was reported to have appeared in considerable 
numbers on asparagus stalks that had been cut down upon a farm in 
Carroll County, Md. The same year Dr. J. B. Smith, entomologist 
of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, announced its 
appearance in Gloucester County, in southern New Jersey, and in 
the following year it was found in Cumberland and Camden counties 
of the same State. 

To have reached these points the insect, obviously, had traversed 
the intervening country, comprising Harford, Cecil, and Kent coun- 
ties in Maryland, the northern half of Delaware, and Salem County, 
N. J. It was also found to have reached Virginia, near Washington. 


In 1894 it had extended northward to Burlington County, N. J. , and 
westward to Philadelphia County, in Pennsylvania. The same year 
it was detected in Queen Anne County, Md. 

The past year (1896) it was found to have established itself in 
Charles Countj-, Md. , and to have penetrated as far south in Virginia 
as Westmoreland County. 

In May, 1896, a serious invasion was reported in Prince George 
County, Md., where the beetles attacked the young shoots, gnawing 
off the heads as soon as they showed above ground, thus entirely 
unfitting the crop for marketable purposes. As in most other cases 
of the reported presence of this insect, it was accompanied by the 
common asparagus beetle, which was first to appear on the beds, but 
soon gave way to the twelve-spotted species. During that year a num- 
ber of new localities were added, including Westmoreland County in 
Virginia, the southernmost locality at present known for the species. 

In addition to the above, we have a brief record, that of Dr. J. A. 
Lintner, who mentioned the occurrence of this insect in asparagus beds 
in Monroe County, N. Y., in 1894. This is at a point near Rochester, 
in the northwestern part of the State, and not far from Lake Ontario. 
Its remoteness from other known localities of the insect leads natur- 
ally to the conclusion that this must have been an independent or at 
least an artificial introduction, therefore a second center for its further 
distribution. It seems hardly probable, however, that the species will 
spread from this point with the same degree of rapidity that it has 
done from Baltimore, as it has here reached the northernmost limit of 
the Upper Austral life zone, and its progress in following this life zone 
would be southwest, where as from Baltimore it spread in all directions. 

To the above must be added the finding of the species by Mr. M. H. 
Beckwith, at Millsboro, Del. , in the northern portion of that State. 


From available data it is now fairly established that this species is 
at present distributed throughout the asparagus-growing country in 
the southern half of New Jersey, the whole of Delaware, nearly the 
entire State of Maryland, the District of Columbia, the southeastern 
portion of Pennsylvania bordering the State line of New Jersey, and 
northeastern Virginia in the vicinity of the western shore of the 
Potomac River. 

At first its progress was slow, but within the past few years it has 
traveled more rapidly. The theory that water has played no small 
part in spreading the asparagus beetles is exemplified in the case of 
the present species, as it will be observed that it had spread to Wash- 
ington, D. C, 35 miles southwest of Baltimore, within five years of its 
discovery, while its appearance was not noticed at any distance east 
or north of Baltimore until six years later. 

Having a different starting point from Crioceris asparagi, this species 
has nevertheless followed somewhat closely the course of the latter, 



particularly southward, along the coast line, rivers, and other water 
courses, and, like the latter also, it has been slow to spread inland. 
At its present rate of distribution it has at least as wide a range as the 
older species was known to have gained in the same number of years 
after its introduction. Although, as already stated, it is far less in- 
jurious than the latter in Europe, and not so abundant in this coun- 
try, save in a few localities, it would be unsafe to predict its future 
destructiveness. That it will in time invade the territory now occu- 
pied by the common species in the North and West as it has in the 
South there can be no reasonable doubt; that it is capable of inflicting 
considerable injury has been proven, but it will be a matter of several 
years before it can be classed as more than a sporadically injurious 


The mature beetle in life rivals asparagi in beauty, but may be dis- 
tinguished by its much broader elytra and its color. The ground color 
is orange red; each ely- 
tron is marked with six 
black dots, and the knees 
and a portion of the un- 
der surface of the thorax 
are also marked with 
black. (See fig. 89, a.) 
The beetle, as it occurs 
on the plant when in 
fruit, very closely resem- 
bles at a little distance 
the ripening asparagus 

The common aspara- 
gus beetle, as is well 
known, dodges around a 
stem like a squirrel when disturbed, but the twelve-spotted form 
appears to trust to flight, taking wing more readily than the other. 
Both species make a loud creaking sound when handled, by what is 
called stridulation, produced in the present species by rubbing the tip 
of the abdomen against the elytra. 

The full-grown larva is shown in the illustration at fig. 89, b. It 
measures, when extended, three-tenths of an inch (8 mm.), being of 
about the same proportions as the larva of the common species, but is 
readily separable by its ochraceous orange color. The ground color 
is light yellowish cream with an overlay of ochraceous orange which is 
most pronounced on the exterior portions of the abdominal segments. 
The head, with the exception of the mouth-parts, is also ochraceous, 
the thoracic plate is prominent, divided into two parts, and is of a 
dark-brown color. Enlarged figures of the second abdominal segment 
of both species are presented at fig. 89, c and d, for comparison. 

Fig. 89. — Crioceris 1%-punctata : or, beetle; 6, larva; c, second 
abdominal segment of larva; d, same of C asparagi — a, 6, 
enlarged, c, d, more enlarged (original). 


The life history of the insect is as yet imperfectly understood. The 
egg has not been found and only a few of the young larvee have been 
observed. One of the latter was upon the foliage of the plant; the 
others, in various stages of growth, occurred in the berries. It might 
be conjectured that the eggs are deposited, like those of the common 
species, on leaves and stems, and that the larvse of at least the first 
generation feed upon the same portions of the plant, but further ob- 
servation is necessary to establish this. 

The adult beetles feed, like the common species, upon the leaves 
and epidermis of asparagus stems, and, in confinement at least, also 
upon the berry. 

In Europe the species is stated to be double-brooded, the first genera- 
tion appearing in April or. May, the second in August or September. 
The larvse of the later generations feed preferably upon the berries, 
in which they live singly, introducing themselves into the pulp. The 
infested fruit reddens prematurely, and the larva?, when full grown, 
cut their way out and escape to the ground, which they enter to 
undergo further transformation. The pupa state is said to require 
two or three weeks for the first generation and the entire winter for 
the second. Be this as it may in Europe, it is more probable, from 
what we know of the common asparagus species and other imported 
leaf-beetles in this country, that there are here more than two broods 
annually, at least in the more southern range of the species, and that 
hibernation takes place in the adult condition. 


Of the efficiency of the remedies indicated for the common aspara- 
gus beetle there is ample testimony; that all of these, with the pos- 
sible exception of caustic lime and other measures that are directed 
solely against the larvse on the growing plants, would prove of value 
against the new species scarcely admits of doubt, but the habit of the 
larva of the latter of living for at least a considerable portion of its 
existence within the berry places it for that period beyond the reach of 
natural enemies and insecticides. 

The collection and destruction of the asparagus berries before 
ripening might be a solution of the problem, but it is questionable if 
recourse to this measure would be necessary, save in case of an excep- 
tional abundance of the insect. 


By J. B. Lindsey, Ph. D., 
Massachusetts Hatch Experiment Station, Amherst, Mass. 

Corn or maize stover may be denned as that part of the corn plant 
remaining after the matured ears have been removed. The name is 
meant to include the entire stalk, leaves, and husks. 

In 1895 the farmers of the United States planted about eighty-two 
million acres of land with Indian corn, which would yield about ninety 
million tons of field-cured corn stover. Supposing this stover to have 
the average feeding value and to be properly cured and housed, it 
would feed all the milch cows, oxen, and other cattle in the whole 
country for, approximately, one-fourth to one-third of a year. It is 
therefore of the utmost importance that the farmer should have a 
thorough understanding of the composition, digestibility, and prac- 
tical feeding value of this fodder stuff. 


While, from causes to be mentioned hereafter, corn stover varies 
more or less in quality, the average of a large number of analyses 
shows it to contain its several constituents in the following proportions : 

Composition of corn stover. 





Water-free substance. 






hay, for 


Per cent. 




Per cent. 

Per cent. 

Per cent. 

Per cent. 

Per cent. 























Corn stover varies very much in the amount of water it contains. 
When brought under cover with fairly good weather for curing, it 
will contain from 30 to 40 per cent of water. After it has remained 
under cover for two or three months, if it is loosely packed, consider- 
able water will have dried out, reducing the percentage to 20, below 
which it rarely goes. 

12 A96 23 m3 


In order to compare the composition of one coarse fodder with 
another, it is customary to leave water out of the calculation, com- 
paring the actual dry matter only. This has been done in the preced- 
ing tahle. For comparison, the average composition of timothy hay is 
also shown. It will be seen that there is a very close correspondence 
between the whole stover and its various parts, the only essential 
difference, aside from the ash, being that the leaves contain some- 
what less fiber and more protein, and, other things being equal, they 
should be slightly more valuable as a source of nourishment. The 
whole stover shows a composition practically identical with that of 
timothy hay. 

The fiber and nitrogen-free extract of a fodder are frequently clas- 
sified together under the name of carbohydrates, performing the same 
functions in the process of nutrition, namely, the production of ani- 
mal heat, energy, and fat. Corn stover, containing fully 86 per cent of 
such substanees, may well be termed a carbonaceous or starchy feed. 


A feeding stuff is valuable as a source of nourishment only so far 
as its various parts can be digested and assimilated by the animal. 
A chemical analysis shows the total amounts of constituents making 
up the feeding stuff, but this alone does not show the ultimate value 
of the material as a source of food. For this, knowledge of the pro- 
portion of the constituents digested is necessary. 1 The following 
figures show the percentages of the different constituents which the 
average animal is able to digest from the whole stover and its several 
parts, and from timothy hay and oat straw for comparison : 

Digestibility of com stover, oat straw, and timothy hay. 


Dry matter — 




Nitrogen-free extract 


Per cent. 


Per cent. 


Per cent. 



Per cent. 






Per cent. 


Per cent. 


No direct tests have ever been made to compare the digestibility of 
stover from different varieties of corn and in different stages of matu- 
rity. Experiments, however, with the entire plant — stover and ears — 
indicate that the large, coarse varieties are rather less digestible than 
the small and medium kinds. The figures as presented in the above 
table show that the entire stover, as well as its several distinct parts, 
is exceedingly well digested. The protein of the several separate 

1 Farmers' Bulletin No. 32, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


parts shows a rather poor digestibility. This is always the case when 
feeds very rich in carbonaceous substances (nitrogen-free extract and 
fiber) are fed alone. When supplemented by nitrogenous feeding 
stuffs, the digestibility of the protein would undoubtedly be increased. 
The figures also show that the whole corn stover and its separate 
parts are rather more digestible than timothy hay, and decidedly 
more so than oat straw. 

A calculation of the amounts of the several digestible ingredients 
in 1 ton of well-cured stover with 20 per cent of water and in 1 ton 
of timothy hay gives the following result: 

Amounts of digestible ingredients in 1 ton of stover and 1 ton of timothy hay. 



thy hay. 













Assuming that an acre of land planted to corn will yield, in addi- 
tion to the ears, 2 tons of stover, and that an acre equally well culti- 
vated will produce 2£ tons of timothy hay, a simple calculation shows 
that the stover will contain about 1,930 pounds and the hay 2,111 
pounds of digestible food ingredients. Taking into consideration the 
average weather conditions affecting both crops, as well as the loss 
suffered by the stover in the process of curing, it would probably be 
safe to assume that the stover from an acre of land will furnish on 
the average, approximately, as much digestible matter as the timothy 
hay from a similar area. 


In many sections of the country the idea seems to prevail that the 
stover has comparatively little feeding value. In different localities 
very different methods of harvesting are followed. In some sections 
the corn is topped above the ear and the leaves below the ear stripped 
off, while the stalk below the ear is regarded as of little or no value 
and is allowed to go to waste. Again, many farmers leave the entire 
stover uncut in the field, and in the late autumn or winter turn the 
cattle in and let them eat what they will, the idea being that this is 
cheaper than harvesting it. That such methods are very wasteful 
must be clear to everyone. Reliable experiments teach that of the 
entire corn stover the portion above the ear (tops) contains 27 per cent 
of the total digestible matter, the blades below the ear, 13 per cent ; the 
husks, 26 per cent, and the stalks below the ear, 34 per cent. By 


leaving the stalks below the ear in the field, one-third of the entire 
feeding value of the stover is lost. Again, if the stover is not cut till 
very late, the leaves dry up and are blown away by the winds. 


The value of the stover varies to quite an extent, according to time 
of cutting, variety, and weather conditions during the curing process. 
Until the corn plant has tasseled out, practically all its energy is 
devoted to growth, that is, to completing its ultimate size. This being 
accomplished, the plant materials assimilated by the plant are used 
in developing the ear, and the products being formed faster than they 
can be thus utilized, the balance is stored largely in the stalk as 
reserve material. 

From the silking stage until full maturity the dry matter or actual 
food material has been shown to increase 50 per cent, that is, to be 
one and one-half times as great in the latter stage as when silking. In 
the later stages of the ripening process the actual assimilation of plant 
food largely ceases, and the plant draws more or less upon its reserve 
supply of material to fully develop the ear. In other words, the ear 
develops at the expense of the stover. The stover from fully matured 
corn is therefore liable to be rather inferior in quality to that cut, for 
example, when the ear is in the dough stage. Nevertheless it is not 
advisable to harvest the corn till about one-half of the leaves are dry, 
if climatic conditions allow and it is desired to secure the largest 
total amount of digestible food material in both grain and stover. 

In the second place, stover from different varieties of corn differs 
somewhat in nutritive value. The stover of the earlier and smaller 
varieties is, other things being equal, to be preferred to that of the 
large, coarse dents. The quality of stover is considerably affected 
by the condition of the weather during the curing period, as will be 
shown further on. 


To preserve stover in the best condition for feeding, the plant should 
be cut close to the base when about half of the leaves are dry and 
placed in stooks, or shocks, with the tops tied together to shed the rain. 
After standing a while to cure, the ears are husked and the stover 
placed back again to complete the drying process. If the grain is 
ripe, the ears can be removed at the time of stooking and husked 
when convenient. When a husking machine is employed, the cured 
stover will of course be run through the machine and shredded and 
the corn husked at the same time. Should the weather be fairly dry 
during October, the stover will dry out well. Very wet weather will 
retard the drying and cause the stover to decompose more or less in 
the stook. If it is necessary to store it in such condition, it will mold 
still further, with a corresponding shrinkage in feeding value. The 


stover should be housed, if possible, before stormy weather. Being 
bulky, it will require considerable room. Too close packing prevents 
the further evaporation of water. When it is not possible to house 
it, it can be quite well preserved in large conical stacks, as is fre- 
quently practiced in the Western States. 

Observations extending over a series of years show that stover, 
even when due care is exercised in its preservation, generally loses 
from 15 to 25 per cent of its feeding value from the time it is cut 
until it is fed. This loss is to be attributed to mold, loss of leaves, 
exposure to bad weather, etc. 


The opinions of farmers on this point have differed widely. Some 
have claimed that stover possesses but little nutritive value, while 
many others consider it to have about one-half the feeding value of 
hay. Its true feeding value depends to a great extent iipon its mechan- 
ical condition, the quantity fed daily, and its proper combination with 
other feeding stuffs. When stover is fed whole, the average animal 
eats the leaves, husks, and tops, and refuses the stalks. It is only 
necessary to observe the farmer's manure pile to know the value he 
places upon his stover. To show the increased consumption caused 
by cutting corn stover, the Wisconsin Experiment Station conducted 
three feeding experiments with four milch cows. The cows were fed 
a grain ration and in addition all they would eat of cut or uncut stover. 
The corn Avas cut into inch lengths in a feed cutter, which also shred- 
ded the coarse stalks. The first two experiments were conducted with 
Pride of the North stover, a medium dent variety, and the last with 
Stowell Evergreen, planted thickty. It was found that cutting saved 
36 per cent of the fodder in the first, 31 per cent in the second, and 9 
per cent in the third experiment. It is probably a conservative state- 
ment that farmers lose fully one-third of their stover by feeding it 


Machines are in use which husk the corn and shred the stover at 
the same time. Many have pronounced them economical, while some 
have questioned the advantages to be derived from them. Professor 
Nourse, of the Virginia Experiment Station, who has recently given 
one of these machines a practical trial, reports very satisfactory results. 1 
He says the ' ' fodder is either cut by knives or torn into small bits by the 
shredder heads. We value the machine particularly for the improved 
condition in which it leaves the fodder." Any machine that will 
thoroughly shred the fodder is preferable to one that simply cuts it. 
Fodder that is shredded immediately on being drawn from the field 
is often so moist as to mold when thrown in large piles, and proves 
worthless for feeding. The New Jersey Experiment Station has 

* ' Virginia Experiment Station Bulletin No. 33. 


reported serious trouble from this course. On the other hand, if the 
fodder is stored for a few months previous to shredding, the danger is 
largely, if not entirely, avoided. This involves considerable extra 
expense, however, which sometimes renders it of doubtful economy. 
The fact remains that stover can not be shredded in any large quan- 
tity when moist without great danger of its rapidly becoming unfit for 
feeding. Farmers having power cutters of their own can shred at one 
time sufficient for a week's use without danger of its spoiling. 


Corn stover should not be the only feed given the animals if profit- 
able returns are to be expected from its use. After the corn plant 
has well ripened it is by no means as palatable as hay, and animals 
very frequently refuse to eat more than enough to satisfy their imme- 
diate hunger. Again, attention has been called to the fact that it is 
a carbonaceous feed — a heat producer rather than a flesh former — and 
hence of itself an improperly balanced ration. One would expect a 
small milk yield if stover was the exclusive feed of dairy cows, for 
reasonable quantities of digestible protein must be supplied when a 
large milk flow is desired. When growing animals are wintered on 
corn stover only, they will do very little more than maintain their 
weight, for growing stock also needs digestible protein to produce 
bone and muscle. 

A considerable number of experiments have been made with milch 
cows, comparing cut corn stover as an exclusive coarse feed with an 
equal quantity of good hay, the grain rations being the same in both 
cases, and the entire ration being what is termed properly balanced. 
The corn stover rations have produced from three-fourths as much to, 
approximately, the same quantity of milk daily as the hay rations, the 
yield being influenced somewhat by the length of the feeding period 
and the quality of the corn stover. While such a method of feeding 
is decidedly superior to feeding the stover exclusively, it can, in the 
writer's judgment, be improved upon. Vf hen milch cows are fed on 
stover as the only coarse fodder, they eat it well for a short time. 
They soon begin to tire of it, however, and within a brief period will 
eat no more than two-thirds as much stover as hay. In the first place, 
the stover lacks the agreeable odor and flavor of the hay, and, second, 
the use of large quantities of cut stover tends to make the animals' 
mouths sore, causing them to eat less than otherwise. This difficulty 
is far less when the stover is shredded. The writer believes that one 
(and sometimes both) of the above conditions operate to prevent ani- 
mals fed on stover as the only coarse fodder from giving fully as 
large milk yields for long periods as are obtained from a good quality 
of hay. The writer has noticed the same conditions in case of grow- 
ing steers when fed on grain and corn stover. The animals rapidly 


tired of the stover, even more quickly than did the cows, making very 
much smaller weekly gains in weight than when fed more palatable 
coarse fodder. 


So far as mechanical condition is concerned, the best results will 
naturally be obtained with the shredded stover. A properly balanced 
ration for milch cows should consist of one-third grain mixture and 
two-thirds coarse fodder; for young stock, one-fourth to one-fifth grain 
mixture and the balance coarse fodder. The writer's experience has 
indicated that not over one-half of the coarse fodder or one-third of 
the total daily ration should consist of stover. Fed in such quanti- 
ties, animals will, as a rule, consume it for a long time, and it will 
give nearly, if not quite, as good results as an equal quantity of good 
hay. In addition to the stover, coarse fodder should generally consist 
of some kind of hay or silage. The writer prefers to feed animals 
but twice daily, giving about one-half of the grain and coarse fodder 
at each feeding. If the stover is fed at the same time as the silage, 
the flavor of the latter will be imparted to the stover, causing it to be 
eaten clean. Some good feeders moisten the cut stover with water 
and sprinkle the grain over it, making what is termed "chopped feed." 
This also imparts flavor to the stover, and Avill frequently induce 
animals to eat more of it with correspondingly satisfactory results. 
Another method for those who are able to practice it is to put the cut 
stover into a large covered wooden box, moisten with water, and mix 
about 1 pound of bran to 4 or 5 pounds of stover, and then turn in 
steam. The steam softens the stover and imparts the flavor of the 
bran to the entire mass. Thus prepared, it will keep several days, 
and if convenient a little steam can be turned in each day. A slight 
fermentation increases its palatability. 

The following rations containing corn stover are suggested for milch 
cows. The amounts stated are per head daily. 


3 pounds wheat bran. 
3 pounds gluten feed. 

2 pounds- linseed meal. 
9 pounds corn stover. 
9 pounds hay. 


C pounds wheat bran. 

3 pounds gluten meal. 
30 pounds silage. 

8 pounds corn stover. 

Rations containing corn stover. 1 


3 pounds Atlas meal.' 
3 pounds corn meal. 
3 pounds wheat bran. 
8 pounds corn stover. 
10 pounds hay of peas and oats. 


4 pounds dried brewer's grains. 
2 pounds cotton-seed meal. 
20-30 pounds stover-bran mash. 
6 pounds hay. 

1 In case of fattening animals, corn meal, oatmeal, or hominy meal should be 
substituted for a considerable portion of the nitrogenous grains. 

2 A dried distillery feed. 


Rations containing corn stover — Continued. 

4 pounds wheat bran. 

2 pounds linseed meal. 

3 pounds corn meal. 

7 pounds cotton-seed feed. 
15 pounds silage. 
7 pounds corn stover. 

The above rations are not to be followed blindly, the judgment 
of a practical feeder being always necessary to the greatest success. 
The grain rations can be used with any of the coarse-fodder rations. 
Not quite so much grain need be given if 25 to 30 pounds of the 
stover-bran mash is fed; 6 or 7 pounds would then be sufficient. 


The manurial value of corn stover should by no means be lost 
sight of. Two tons of cured stover — a good yield per acre — will con- 
tain, in round numbers, about 32 pounds of nitrogen, 10 pounds of 
phosphoric acid, and 50 pounds of potash. These materials ought to be 
returned to the soil to keep up its fertility, and passing them through 
the animal is the cheapest and quickest process of rendering them 
available as sources of plant food. 


1. Both chemical analysis and digestion experiments show that corn 
stover contains fully as many pounds of actual food materials as 
equal quantities of the best grades of hay. 

2. The blades, husks, and stalks are all valuable for food; hence 
the entire plant should be cut when the corn is ripe, carefully cured, 
and housed. 

3. One-third to one-half of the stover is very often wasted by 
improper methods of treatment and feeding. 

4. In order that it be eaten clean, corn stover should*be cut fine or 
shredded before being fed. 

5. Stover very frequently lacks in flavor and is a one-sided or car- 
bonaceous feed; hence it should not be fed alone. 

0. Only about one-half of the total coarse fodder of the ration 
should consist of stover. It should also be fed in combination with 
by-products rich in protein.- 

7. The palatability of stover can be improved by moistening with 
water and sprinkling with bran. Steaming very much improves the 



By A. C. True, Ph. D., 
Director of the Office of Experiment Stations, U. 8. Department of Agriculture. 

Belgium lias one of the most complete systems of agricultural edu- 
cation and research in existence to-day. This has been largely devel- 
oped during the past five or six years. The growth of population, the 
requirements of intensive farming, and the increasing pressure of for- 
eign competition have profoundly affected the farmer of the Old World. 
Both people and Government were slow to realize the significance of 
the changes taking place in agricultural conditions, but now that they 
are awake to the necessities of the case, they are laboring strenuously 
to give the farmer information and training which will enable him to 
overcome the difficulties of his environment and to compete at least 
on equal terms of knowledge and skill with his rivals in other lands. 


It is well that the people of the United States should realize what 
active efforts are being made in the continental countries of Europe 
to give the rising generation sound and thorough technical education 
in agriculture and other arts. Under the political system there pre- 
vailing the Government takes the initiative in such matters. When 
once aroused to the importance of such a thing as technical education 
in agriculture, it is very likely to proceed Avith great energy to estab- 
lish and enforce a complete system as far as this is practicable. It 
does not have to wait to convince a majority of the people that this is 
the best thing to do. It looks for its support to the leaders of science 
and industry and recognizes its duty to bring the people to see that 
what it attempts in this line is really intended for their good. 

In this country, on the other hand, broadly speaking, systems of 
public education and scientific effort depend on the will of the people 
expressed through their representatives in local and national legisla- 
tures or boards. While here and there private munificence or even 
advanced public spirit may organize institutions for general or special 
education, these are not likely to affect the people generally until 
they are themselves convinced that it will be a good thing to have 
such institutions for their children. In the long run our plan may 
produce the best results because our educational institutions are 
founded on the intelligent choice of the people and have their sympa- 
thetic support. It involves, however, a period of agitation, during 



which the merits of any particular system must be submitted to more 
or less critical examination. Prejudice and conservatism must be 
broken down and the advantages of the new scheme be made suffi- 
ciently plain to induce the taxpayers to give their consent to the 
financial burden involved in carrying it out. This process may be a 
relatively long one and in the meantime other countries with a more 
paternal Government may temporarily get ahead of us in this particu- 
lar. Something like this has happened with respect to education and 
research, especially in the arts and industries. Thirty or forty years 
ago our people had made such relatively rapid progress in establishing 
systems of free public instruction that they received the congratula- 
tions of mankind on this account. The belief that we had the best 
educational system in the world became firmly fixed in the public 
mind, and we have thus far remained in too great contentment with 
our lot in this matter. We have thus been blinded to a certain ex- 
tent to the fact that while we have gone on strengthening and improv- 
ing our educational system, European countries have made herculean 
efforts to outstrip each other in educating their people and have in 
many particulars elaborated more nearly perfect systems than our own. 
The limits and scope of this article will only permit the calling atten- 
tion to the broad and fundamental facts which must be taken into 
account if we are to make a just comparison of European with 
American educational systems. 

In approaching the study of Belgian institutions for education and 
research in agriculture it is well to bear in mind, first, that the rapid 
progress made in developing such institutions in that countiy in recent 
years has been largely due to the energy displayed by the Government 
in this work, and, second, that concentration by the Government on 
this problem has enabled it to perfect the system beyond what has 
been attempted in this country. 


Belgium, we should remember, is the most densely populated coun- 
try in Europe. Within an area smaller than that of Massachusetts 
and Connecticut is crowded a population as large as that of the State 
of JSTew York. Of the total area of 7,275,000 acres, less than 600,000 
acres are waste land. The subdivision of estates has progressed so 
far that many of the so-called farms are mere garden patches of from 
1 to 2 acres. As in other countries of Europe, the people live in vil- 
lages, from which they go out to their daily toil on the farms. The 
smallness of the farms makes it necessary, in many cases, for the 
family to engage in other industries along with farming. The famous 
laces of Belgium are largely made by women and children in the time 
when they are not engaged in agriculture. Here, as elsewhere in 
Europe, women and girls perform a large amount of labor in the fields. 
Agricultural machinery is little used. The soil is thoroughly tilled by 


hand. Every available foot of ground is worked, rotation is practiced 
to maintain fertility and to increase the number of crops grown on 
the same land in a given time, and weeds ai'e carefully kept out. 
Under the pressure of foreign competition, staple crops of grain are 
being crowded out. Much attention is given to horticulture, truck 
farming, seed raising, and dairying. Flax culture is an important 


While some institutions for agricultural education and research had 
existed in Belgium for many years, it was not until 1884 that the 
Government seriously undertook the task of providing a thorough 
system of agricultural education. At that time a ministry of agri- 
culture was created "which at once undertook to restore the pros- 
perity of the country by organizing, for the instruction of the farmers 
in the advanced knowledge given by science, a system of education 
as complete and thorough as that afforded by any other nation." 
After a careful study of the systems of agricultural education exist- 
ing in other countries as related to the conditions and needs of 
Belgian agriculture, two laws were enacted April 4, 1890, which took 
the place of all previous legislation on this subject and permitted the 
establishment of the complete system of education now in operation. 
This system provides for primary, secondary, and superior schools or 
courses of agriculture. Primary agricultural courses for adult farm- 
ers are conducted under the direction of the ministry of agriculture, 
while courses of a similar grade for teachers and children are super- 
vised by the ministry of public instruction. The secondary and 
superior schools of agriculture, as well as other agencies for promoting 
agricultural education and research, are directed by the ministry of 


Scientific and technical training in agriculture is supplied by the 
Agricultural Institute of Gembloux and the School of Veterinary 
Medicine of Cureghem, Brussels, which are supported by the Govern- 
ment, and also by the Agricultural Institute of the University of 
Louvain. This last-named institute is organized as a branch of the 
scientific faculty of the university and provides instruction of the 
regular university grade. It possesses no farm and does not attempt 
to give instruction in the practice of agriculture. It is expected, 
however, that the students will acquire practical knowledge of farm 
operations before they are given a degree, and the practical application 
of the principles and theories taught in the laboratory and lecture 
room is enforced by numerous and varied excursions to different 


The School of Veterinary Medicine of Cureghem, in the vicinity of 
Brussels, is an institution of high grade. To secure admission to the 
course which leads to a degree in veterinary medicine, the student 
must first obtain the same university diploma which is required for 
admission to courses in human medicine. Special facilities are pro- 
vided for the study of bacteriology and opportunities for clinics and 
other practical exercises are afforded in connection with a slaughter- 
house and cattle market. 

The oldest and most important of the Belgian institutions for 
higher education in agriculture is the Agricultural Institute of 
Genibloux. This was founded in 1860 and occupies the buildings and 
farm of an ancient abbey. It is in the midst of a rich agricultural 
region and only about 25 miles south of the great city of Brussels. 
The institution is thoroughly organized with a large and competent 
staff of professors and other teachers, and possesses ample laboratory 
equipment and relatively large collections of natural-history speci- 
mens and other illustrative materials, as well as a good working 
library and reading room. A farm of about 160 acres with fields and 
gardens for experiment and demonstration serves for illustration and 
practice in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, while neighboring 
sugar factories, distilleries, and breweries afford opportunities for the 
study of agricultural technology in lines deemed of great importance 
in European countries. The students lodge and board at the institu- 
tion. The courses of instruction are given in the French language 
and require three years for their completion. Candidates for admis- 
sion must be 17 years old and are required to pass oral and written 
examinations in the French language, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, 
trigonometry, general and Belgian history, geography, and elementary 
physics. The course of study in the institute includes algebra, geom- 
etry, trigonometry, surveying, mechanics, hydraulics, agricultural 
engineering, physics, meteorology, chemistry (inorganic, organic, and 
analytical), agricultural technology, botany (including physiology and 
pathology of plants), bacteriology, zoology, entomology, mineralogy, 
geology, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, zootechny (i. e., anatomy, 
physiology, hygiene, feeding, breeding, and improvement of domestic 
animals), agricultural and forestry law, constitutional law, agricul- 
tural bookkeeping, political economy, rural economy, and microscopic 
analysis (with special reference to adulterations). 

Here, as elsewhere in the European institutions for higher educa- 
tion in agriculture, more and more stress is being laid on thorough 
scientific training. The student is expected to be familiar with farm 
practice before he comes to the institute or to acquire this familiarity 
during vacation or in some other way before passing his final exami- 
nations for a degree. Experience seems to have demonstrated that 
in such institutions the farm and garden can be best utilized for 
purposes of illustration or as an agricultural laboratory. Trained 


brains, rather than simply skilled hands, are required for the perform- 
ance of the higher services demanded by agricultural science and 
practice to-day. The institute at Geinbloux is not regarded as a 
school for teaching the operations of the farm; it is rather the train- 
ing place for the future leaders in agricultural "progress in Belgium. 
While the candidates for a degree are required to pursue a set course 
and submit to rigid examinations, students who desire to pursue spe- 
cial courses are admitted on liberal terms without examination. This 
is in accordance with the policy generally pursued at the institutions 
for higher education in Europe. There are thousands of students 
attending lectures at the universities in different European countries 
who have no expectation of taking a degree. It is believed that this 
freedom of admission to higher courses, on the whole, contributes to 
raise the general level of intelligence in the community and gives 
very many persons an opportunity to secure useful knowledge on spe- 
cial subjects which they would otherwise be deprived of. Of course, 
a considerable number of these special students abuse their privi- 
leges. Idlers and profligates are found wherever young men congre- 
gate. Nevertheless, this feature of the European educational system 
deserves more consideration than it has hitherto received from the 
colleges and universities in this country. In too many of our insti- 
tutions the college grade of instruction is kept too low, with a view 
to getting more students in the regular college classes. We need to 
bring the requirements for degrees to a greater uniformity, without 
excluding from our colleges those students who might profit from spe- 
cial or partial courses. 


Having provided, as we have seen, for thorough training in the 
higher lines of agricultural education and having thus secured a con- 
siderable number of men fitted to be investigators and teachers of 
agricultural science and practice, the Government of Belgium has 
devoted itself to the maintenance of schools and courses of agricul- 
ture of a distinctly lower grade than those previously mentioned. 

Three of the secondary schools are regularly organized under the 
general laws governing agricultural education. The school at Huy is 
devoted entirely to agriculture, while those at Ghent and Vilvorde 
give instruction in both agriculture and horticulture. The school at 
Ghent is the oldest of these institutions, having been founded in 1855. 
It has extensive buildings and grounds, and is thoroughly equipped 
with facilities for theoretical and practical instruction. Candidates 
for admission must ordinarily be at least 16 years old, and pass an 
examination in the French or Flemish language, national history, 
geography, and arithmetic. They must also give satisfactory proof 
that they are physically able to regularly carry on the practical work 
required in connection with their studies. The regular course occupies 


three years, and includes instruction in the French, Flemish, German, 
and English languages, arithmetic, bookkeeping, geometry, geography, 
botany, elementary physics and chemistry, drawing, agricultural engi- 
neering, animal physiology and production, and the theory and practice 
of agriculture and horticulture. Especial attention is given to floricul- 
ture, which is a very important industry in Ghent, as well as elsewhere 
in Belgium. The minister of agriculture may admit pupils who desire 
to pursue special courses. These students are not required to take 
an entrance examination, and they may be relieved of practical work. 
For students in the regular course tuition is free, and some financial 
assistance is given to especially meritorious students who need it. 
In schools of this grade the effort is made to train young men for the 
practical pursuit of agriculture or horticulture on a relatively large 
scale. It is expected that they will become managers of estates or 
foremen in horticultural establishments. 

Secondary instruction in agriculture and horticulture is also pro- 
vided for in a number of private schools which are organized with ref- 
erence to instruction in these lines in return for small subsidies. "As 
these schools are of different kinds, the Government has arranged 
three different courses of instruction from which a choice can be made 
according to the requirements of the individual school. These courses 
resemble the typical courses of the State schools of practical agricul- 
ture, but as the system of indoor discipline in most private schools 
does not permit sufficient time to be given to the practice of agricul- 
ture, the Government contents itself with requiring appropriate theo- 
retical instruction." It is, however, insisted that object teaching 
and laboratory practice shall be made prominent in the courses in 
agriculture in these schools. Twenty of these private schools of agri- 
culture are now in operation in Belgium and are so located as to 
meet the needs of the different agricultural regions. 

Provision is also made by the Government for short courses in 
agriculture in public and private secondary schools for general edu- 
cation. These courses consist of at least one lesson a week during 
the school year, which must be given in accordance with the plan laid 
down by the Government. Thirty schools in Belgium are at present 
giving such courses. This plan has the advantage of providing at 
least an outline of the theory and practice of agriculture at small 
expense to a considerable number of students who are at the same 
time acquiring an ordinary high-school education. Such a course 
awakens their interest in the more scientific and advanced ideas 
regarding agriculture and prepares them to read with intelligence 
the reports of agricultural investigations. It also tends to make them 
more contented with rural life. It is believed that some such plan 
might easily be adopted in the rural high schools in many places in the 
United States. 

Quite recently the Government has perceived "that it is important 


for the agricultural pi*osperity of the country to train competent farm 
women as well as farm men." This would, seem to be especially true 
in European countries where women perform numerous duties on the 
farm which in the United States are usually performed by men. A 
school for the theoretical and practical instruction of young women 
in agriculture, including dairying, kitchen gardening, domestic econ- 
omy, etc., has been established in each of the provinces of Belgium. 


To meet the needs of adult farmers who can not attend schools, 
numerous lecture courses on agricultural topics have been organized. 
Each year some 250 courses of 15 lectures each on questions of general 
interest to farmers are given in the different rural districts of Belgium 
by graduates of the higher agricultural schools or other persons who 
are thoroughly competent for this kind of work. In an article on 
agricultural education in Belgium published in 1893, M. De Vuyst, 
an officer of the Belgian Government whose duty it was to supervise 
these courses, thus writes regarding them : 

To secure practice in this exceedingly difficult kind of teaching, the persons 
to give these courses meet together twice a year in each district. At these meet- 
ings one of their number presents a typical lecture and the others discuss it. The 
best lessons in the different courses are printed and distributed. At these meet- 
ings the improvements which are most urgently needed by the farmers of the 
region are also studied. 

This method of organized courses of instruction in agriculture for adults is, we 
believe, peculiar to Belgium. The results which it has produced during four years 
are quite important. There are